July 24, 2024

Sad! At least 93 now confirmed killed in Hawaii wildfires

Lahaina has been devastated by the fire

Not less than 93 people have now been confirmed dead in the raging inferno that consumed the historic town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

With the toll expected to rise, officials announced that the casualties represent one the highest from the deadliest US wildfire in several years.

“It’s an impossible day,” the state governor, Josh Green, told reporters on Saturday after viewing the devastation. Earlier, he said operations were now centred on “the loss of life”.

The fire would “certainly be the worst natural disaster that Hawaii ever faced”, he said. “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.”

Maui county police chief, John Pelletier, disclosed that dogs trained to detect bodies have covered only 3% of the search area, hence more work to do.

“We’ve got an area that we have to contain that is at least 5 square miles and it is full of our loved ones. And we’ve got 89 so far. Today we identified two,” Pelletier said, adding: “None of us really know the size of [the death toll] yet.”

The new figure eclipsed the death toll from the 2018 Camp fire in northern California, which killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise. A century ago, the Cloquet fire in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin destroyed hundreds of homes and killed 453 people.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) projected the cost of rebuilding Lahaina at $5.5 billion (£4.3 billion), with more than 2,200 structures damaged or destroyed and more than 2,100 acres (850 hectares) burned.

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