At least 36 people have died in wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The element forced the American authorities to mass evacuate. Joe Biden declared a natural disaster and officially declared Hawaii a disaster area.
On Wednesday, August 9, Hurricane Dora spread fire across the tourist resort of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The element has already consumed many districts, and thousands of people have had to leave their homes. At least 36 people have died in the fires and search and rescue services are still searching for those missing. Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Hawaii.
President Biden: Hawaii is a disaster area
The designation of Maui as a disaster area fosters cooperation between local authorities and federal services. Thanks to the official decision of the president, the affected inhabitants of the region will be able to apply for subsidies for home repairs, and entrepreneurs will be included in post-disaster reconstruction programs.
During a telephone conversation with Hawaii Governor Josh Green, Joe Biden expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. “Our prayers are with the people of Hawaii, but not only our prayers,” he added during a speech in Utah. The president announced that he would use all available tools to help the victims.
“We are working as quickly as possible to fight these fires and evacuate residents and tourists,” Biden said. However, he admitted that more people would suffer losses before the fire could be extinguished. Although the winds are easing, authorities continue to report a rising death toll.
The people of Maui are talking about the apocalypse
Residents who managed to escape the fire told about the scale of the phenomenon. “We just experienced the worst catastrophe I have ever seen. All Lahaina is burnt to a crisp. It’s like an apocalypse,” Mason Jarvi told Reuters. “We barely made it in time (…). It was hard to sit back and watch my city burn to ashes and not be able to do anything,” Kamuela Kawaakoa told the Associated Press.
Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke has stated that Maui is not a safe place right now. Five evacuation shelters have been created on the island, which, according to officials, are overcrowded. There are also no places in hospitals that have admitted many people with burns and respiratory system injuries. At least 11,000 tourists have already been evacuated from the island, and more planes have been sent to the site, which are expected to take 1,500 people in the coming hours.