Death Toll From Maui Fire Rises to 89
At least 89 people have died after a wildfire devastated the Hawaiian island of Maui, making it the most deadly wildfire in the United States in over a century.
The Associated Press reported: “The new death toll Saturday came as federal emergency workers with axes and cadaver dogs picked through the aftermath of the blaze, marking the ruins of homes with a bright orange X for an initial search and HR when they found human remains. Dogs worked the rubble, and their occasional bark — used to alert their handlers to a possible corpse — echoed over the hot and colorless landscape.”
Gov. Josh Green of Hawaii remarked on Saturday that the death toll would rise. “It will certainly be the worst natural disaster that Hawaii ever faced. … We can only wait and support those who are living. Our focus now is to reunite people when we can and get them housing and get them health care, and then turn to rebuilding,” he said.
Green said that at least 2,200 buildings were destroyed in the wildfire, of which 86% were residential. The governor said that the damage would cost the state of Hawaii nearly $6 billion, adding that it would take “an incredible amount of time” to recover from the disaster.
Despite the level of damage caused by the wildfire, neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris will be traveling to Maui.
“We don’t want to distract from the resources that need to go in to the victims of this tragedy, and of course the needs of the first responders have to be able to focus on that issue and not worry about focusing on us [because] we’re there,” Harris told reporters before boarding Air Force Two for Chicago on Friday, CSPAN reported.
“We are coordinating federal resources to swiftly get there to support the work in terms of recovery, but to just support the folks on the ground. It is tragic,” Harris said
On Thursday, Biden issued a federal disaster declaration for Maui.