A week after the deadly wildfires that tore through the historic town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the BBC is reporting almost 100 dead and as many as 1,300 missing. Governor Josh Green has warned that recovery crews are likely to find 10 to 20 more victims per day as they search the remains of homes and vehicles incinerated by the fire, which destroyed almost the entire town.
With just 3% of the town having been searched as of Saturday, according to officials, conditions remain extremely hazardous. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) search and rescue teams have deployed 10 cadaver dogs to find victims, but the dogs’ work is limited because temperatures are still very high and the animals have to rest and hydrate often between searches.
It is not known how the fire started, but it is clear that drought conditions, dry weather and hurricane winds all helped fuel the flames. According to the US Drought Monitor, around 14% of the state is suffering from severe or moderate drought, while 80% of Hawaii is classed as abnormally dry. Globally, climate change is increasing the risk of wildfire, as it drives up temperatures and makes heatwaves longer and more intense.
DEMA has published a list of charities asking for donations to help the victims of the disaster:
- Aloha United Way: Donations go directly to Maui United Way to support Maui victims
- American Red Cross of Hawaii: Emergency shelters are providing those affected by the Maui wildfires with information, hot meals, and health services
- Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement: Providing critical assistance to families and businesses in Lahaina by matching up to $1.5M in community donations
- The Hawaiʻi Community Foundation: Disaster preparedness, response, and recovery fund is supporting communities affected by the wildfires
- The Lahui Foundation: Monetary donations go directly to fire recovery efforts for residents of Maui
- Maui Food Bank: Collaborating with various relief organizations to distribute supplies throughout Maui County
- Maui Mutual Aid Fund: Asking for donations to support vulnerable residents, such as the elderly, those with physical disabilities, renters, and individuals without insurance
- Maui United Way: Accepting donations to its Maui Fire and Disaster Relief fund, which provides direct relief to families and nonprofits directly affected by the disaster
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