President Biden and First Lady arrive in Maui
Officials identified 72-year-old Theresa Cook from Pollock Pines in northern California as among the victims of the deadly blaze in the historic Hawaiian town of Lahaina.
Hawaiian officials also pleaded with relatives of those missing to come forward and give DNA samples, saying the low number provided so far threatens to hinder efforts to identify any remains discovered in the ashes.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden met with first responders and survivors on Monday and promised that the federal government would be with them “for as long as it takes” to rebuild the community.
Survivors were also voicing fears of a potential wave of land grabs by realtors and investors that could push Hawaiian locals from the island.
Hawaii governor thanks Joe Biden for visit to Hawaii
Hawaii Governor Josh Green posted on Twitter, thanking President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for visiting Maui to survey the damage caused by fast-moving wildfires.
“Jaime and I want to deeply thank President Biden and Dr Jill Biden for their unwavering commitment of support to the people of Lāhainā as they heal and recover from the largest tragedy our state has ever experienced,” Mr Green wrote in a post.
He continued: “Hawai`i and the world will rally around the community of Lāhainā, and we will rise from this together - hand in hand.”
In Photos: Biden’s trip to Hawaii
PGA will play opening event in Maui
Jay Monahan, the Professional Golf Association (PGA) commissioner said they plan to host their season-opening event in Maui, despite the wildfires.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Monahan said he hopes the PGA golf tour can be a “source of inspiration for the great people of Maui and Lahaina.”
The event, called The Sentry, is slated to happen in January, leaving some time for officials and residents to begin clean-up and rebuilding efforts.
When Mr Monahan was asked, on Tuesday, about hosting the event in Maui, he said “absolutely” would still host the event there.
“But I think at this point there’s so many unknowns, and we want to be respectful of the challenges. We want to help be a part of the revitalization. There are a lot of considerations. We’re committed, you know, if we’re allowed to, if we’re invited, if we’re embraced, given all that needs to be accomplished, we will be there 100 per cent,” Mr Monahan added.
Voices: How Biden’s response to Hawaii wildfire disaster went so wrong
“An off-hand remark has landed the president in trouble – but occupants of the White House need to remember that they are always in the spotlight”
John Bowden writes:
An off hand remark has landed the president in trouble – but occupants of the White House need to remember that they are always in the spotlight
FEMA numbers to date
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved about $8 million in aid to nearly 2,000 households in Hawaii.
They have also made $3.6 million in rental assistance available to households.
The agency has also made more than 50,000 meals available and some 75,000 liters of water.
More than 1,000 FEMA officials are on the ground in Hawaii to assist in recovery efforts.
Maui mother holds 15th memorial birthday party for son who died in wildfires
Among the 114 victims of the devastating wildfires in Maui is Kenyero Fuentes, whose family was getting ready to celebrate his birthday before the fire engulfed his home.
Fuentes was relaxing at his family’s home with their dog in Lahaina on 8 August. He was getting ready for classes to start at Lahainaluna High School the next day, his mother, Luz Vargas, told NPR.
More than 800 people are still missing in Maui as people try to track down their unaccounted for loved ones
Watch: Biden pets emergency response dog in Maui
Biden compares Maui wildfires to a kitchen fire he experienced
President Joe Biden tried to empathise with survivors of the Maui wildfires on Monday by sharing his own story of overcoming a small house fire where, luckily, nobody was hurt and nothing of considerable value was burned.
At the Lahaina Civic Center, Mr Biden addressed a crowd of residents who are still reeling from a raging wildfire that spread across their community on 8 August.
“I don’t want to compare difficulties but we have a little sense, Jill and I, what it’s like to lose a home,” Mr Biden told the crowd.
The President went on to share a story from 2004 when lightning struck a wire that ran underneath his home and caused a “small fire that was contained to the kitchen” according to an Associated Press report.
“To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ‘67 Corvette and my cat,” Mr Biden said.
The President then clarified he was “kidding” and praised firefighters for their brave work to save his family during the 2004 kitchen fire.
“We were insured, we did not have any problem, but being out of our home for a better part of a year was difficult. I can only imagine what it’s like to lose your home completely. Burned to the ground. And more importantly, all the things that matter to you,” Mr Biden continued.
Maui residents are still reeling from wildfire devastation. Now investors and relators are trying to cash in
Days after wildfires ravaged Maui, investors and relators tried to take advantage of residents striking fear that towns will lose its history and roots.
Ariana Baio reports:
Days after wildfires ravaged Maui, investors and relators tried to take advantage of residents striking fear that towns will lose its history and roots, Ariana Baio reports
Over 1800 Lahaina customers still without power
The County of Maui said that over 1,800 customers in Lahaina were still without power as of Monday evening.
Hawaiian Electric crew were working to restore “critical circuits” in West Maui that served essential locations like grocery stores, pharmacies and a wastewater pumping facility.
“Once that circuit is restored, coordination between county response teams, individual businesses and private properties will determine next steps toward respective reopening at these commercial facilities,” the County said.
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