Death Toll Reaches 93 In The Maui Wildfires, Marking The Deadliest In A Century
The death toll reaches 93 in the Maui wildfires, marking the deadliest in a century in modern US history. These island fires now hold the unfortunate record for the highest casualties in a century, underscoring the severity of the situation.
Cecilia JonesAug 13, 202324 Shares24070 Views
The death toll reaches 93 in the Maui wildfires, marking the deadliest in a centuryin modern US history. These island fires now hold the unfortunate record for the highest casualties in a century, underscoring the severity of the situation.
Authorities caution that the process of locating and confirming the deceased is in its initial phases. Teams equipped with cadaver dogs have only managed to cover a mere three percent of the search zone, highlighting the enormity of the task ahead.
"It will certainly be the worst natural disaster that Hawaii ever faced," Governor Josh Green said on Saturday as he toured the devastation in Lahaina.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) projected a daunting $5.5 billion price tag for the reconstruction of Lahaina. Over 2,200 structures have suffered damage or been reduced to rubble, and a vast expanse of 2,100 acres (850 hectares) has been scorched by the flames.
During a press briefing on Saturday afternoon, Hawaii Governor Josh Green conveyed a grim warning that the count of casualties would persistently rise as additional victims were unearthed. Trained canines specializing in body detection have managed to cover just a meager 3% of the designated search area, as disclosed by Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier.
Amidst questions raised by residents who wondered if more proactive measures could have been taken to forewarn them before the fire engulfed their residences, authorities have pledged to scrutinize the efficiency of the state's emergency notification systems. In a desperate bid to escape, some individuals found themselves compelled to wade into the Pacific Ocean.
The island's strategically placed sirens, designed to signal impending natural disasters, remained silent, and the effectiveness of other alert mechanisms was severely impaired due to widespread power and cellular disruptions.
Anne Lopez, the state's attorney general, announced the initiation of a comprehensive review into the decision-making process both before and during the fire. Additionally, Governor Green confirmed his authorization of a comprehensive assessment of the emergency response.
Maui fire: At least 93 people killed in Hawaii wildfires
Officials have recounted a nightmarish interplay of factors, encompassing communication network breakdowns, fierce wind gusts reaching 80 miles per hour (130 kph) from an offshore hurricane, and a separate wildfire situated dozens of miles away. This complex convergence of circumstances rendered real-time coordination with the typical issuing body of warnings and evacuation orders, the emergency management agency, nearly unattainable.
The devastation caused by the inferno, which erupted this past Tuesday, has marked it as Hawaii's most severe natural disaster, eclipsing even the impact of a tsunami in 1960 that claimed the lives of 61 individuals, occurring just a year after Hawaii attained U.S. statehood.
The most recent death toll has now exceeded the count of 85 victims from a 2018 fire in the town of Paradise, California, representing the highest toll from a wildfire since 1918. In that year, the Cloquet fire in Minnesota and Wisconsin tragically claimed 453 lives.
Efforts to assist those who lost their homes have been set in motion by officials, with 1,000 hotel rooms secured for such individuals. Additionally, arrangements are being made for rental properties to be offered as housing without any cost to the affected families. Emergency shelters have already welcomed over 1,400 individuals.
Deanne Criswell, the Director of FEMA, informed that the agency has deployed 150 personnel on the ground, with additional search teams and canine units set to arrive within the next day or two.
Surpassing the toll from the 2018 Camp Fire in northern California that claimed 85 lives and devastated Paradise town, the latest reported death count underscores the severity of the situation in Maui, Hawaii.
Meanwhile, two other fires, located in the Kihei area of south Maui and the mountainous inland communities known as Upcountry, have been actively burning. Thankfully, these fires have not resulted in any reported fatalities up to this point.
Numerous survivors of the wildfires have recounted that they were caught off guard, as they didn't hear any sirens or receive any warnings. Their realization of danger only occurred upon seeing flames or hearing explosions. Although officials did issue alerts, the effectiveness of these notifications may have been hampered due to widespread power and cellular outages.