Police in Maui, Hawaii, have confirmed the initiation of a new evacuation as devastating wildfires continue to ravage the island, resulting in a tragic death toll of at least 80 individuals.
Officials have reported that the raging wildfires have left a trail of destruction on Maui, with a grim count of 80 confirmed fatalities. The local police have announced a fresh fire outbreak, leading to the urgent evacuation of a community situated to the north-east of an area previously affected by fires earlier in the week.
Late on Friday night, the Maui police department declared the need to evacuate residents from Kaanapali in West Maui due to the emergence of a new blaze. As of now, reports indicate that the fire has not yet been brought under control.
Further confirmation from the County of Maui indicates that the previously recorded death toll of 67 has tragically risen. Lahaina, a town that fell victim to the inferno, has suffered extensive devastation, with survivors recounting a lack of timely warnings that would have allowed them to flee to safety.
These survivors have now returned to a town that stands as a heart-wrenching testament to the disaster’s impact. In response to these events, Hawaii’s attorney general, Anne Lopez, has announced plans for a comprehensive review of the decision-making processes and policies that shaped the response to the wildfires.
Lopez expressed, “My Department is committed to understanding the decisions that were made before and during the wildfires and to sharing with the public the results of this review.” These wildfires mark Hawaii’s deadliest natural catastrophe in decades, surpassing the death toll of the 1960 tsunami which claimed 61 lives.
Many survivors have revealed that they did not hear sirens or receive evacuation warnings, leaving them with insufficient time to make arrangements. People only realized the severity of the danger when flames and explosions were visible.
While emergency alerts were reportedly sent to mobile devices, televisions, and radio stations, the widespread power and mobile phone outages limited their effectiveness. The state governor, Josh Green, cautioned that the death toll is likely to rise as search and rescue operations continue.
Authorities have implemented a curfew from 10 pm on Friday to 6 am on Saturday local time to ensure safety. Governor Green emphasized, “The recovery’s going to be extraordinarily complicated, but we do want people to get back to their homes and just do what they can to assess safely, because it’s pretty dangerous.”
Mayor Richard Bissen Jr of Maui County has confirmed the deployment of cadaver-sniffing dogs to aid in the search for the deceased. The fires have been exacerbated by dry summer conditions and strong winds from a passing hurricane, fueling at least three wildfires on Maui that raced through the island’s dried brush.