A month has passed since the catastrophic wildfire, deemed the deadliest in over a century, flattened the historic Hawaiian town of Lahaina. Governor Josh Green recently announced a reduction in the number of people missing from the disaster, with the count standing currently at 66. The unfortunate death toll is still fixed at 115, with plans in the pipeline for authorities to facilitate residents’ visits to their properties soon.
Significant financial aid is set to roll out, amounting to tens of millions of dollars, aimed at helping beleaguered families and businesses rise from the ashes. Travel bans will lift from October 8, opening once more the gateway to West Maui for visitors.
“Supporting Maui’s economy and ensuring the employment of our people will expedite their emotional healing, while allowing them to sustain life on Maui,” stated Governor Green.
Contributions have been flowing in from global benefactors, landing within the coffers of entities like the American Red Cross, the Hawaii Community Foundation, and the Maui United Way, thereby amplifying the power of their collective charity. Green confirmed his authorization of an additional USD 100 million from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Furthermore, an additional USD 25 million is earmarked to bolster businesses, proposed to be doled out in grants ranging from USD 10,000 to USD 20,000.
The fire, which took root in the hills towering above the coastal town on August 8, soon fanned out its devastation. Engulfing stand-alone homes and large apartment buildings, charming city arteries, art hubs, and eateries, it razed more than 2000 structures. Seeking rescue from the menacing flames, scores of panic-stricken individuals sought sanctuary in the sea. Damages wrought by the blazing inferno are estimated to be around USD 5.5 billion.
The marked reduction in people still unaccounted for, at 66, offers a glimmer of hope when compared to the 385 reported missing the previous week. The names of 55 victims have been disclosed by Maui’s police department thus far, with individuals aged 70 and above comprising the majority, at 22, and 13 victims recorded in their 60s. Tragically, a child aged below ten also figures on this grim list.
As half of the victims still remain anonymous, Governor Green anticipates significant correspondence between the missing individuals list and recovered remains, thereby indicating a stable, albeit sorrowful, death toll.
Looking ahead, Green divulged plans for scheduling supervised visits for residents to reclaim their properties. However, he cautioned visitors to tread carefully around the toxic ashes in the aftermath of the inferno.