The Nation and the World

The Road to recovery for the Maui wildfires

On August 8th 2023 a wildfire struck Maui, Hawaii. For almost three weeks fires blazed, some still going as of August 27th. Death tolls rose over 100 and well over 2,000 homes were destroyed. Maui was left in a lot of debt and in need of support. 

According to Times Magazine the recovery efforts have been “painstakingly slow” as Alice Lee, chair of the Maui County Council says. With all the buildings covered in ash it’s been hard to begin rebuilding, with not enough resources to do so. 

For a long time the fires of Maui were considered a mystery, many unsure of the initial cause. However recently according to the The New York Times  Maui officials are blaming Hawaii’s main electrical company Hawaii Electric , for the spread of the fire claiming they acted inadequately, by failing to disconnect Maui’s power lines. While a lawsuit was filed, it has also become known that there were warnings from the National Weather Service in the days before the fire started, a dry windstorm rapidly forming and along with the very low humidity a Red Flag Warning was released. A Red Flag warning indicates that critical fire weather will occur soon, and while these are usually brushed over as false this one turned out to be true. Nothing has come from the lawsuit yet, but Hawaii Electric could be in deep trouble being blamed for being responsible for taking over a 100 lives and causing billions of dollars of property destruction. 

According to Time Magazine  there has been disagreement within the Maui community of when tourists are wanted back. While many workers want them back, as the tourists are how they earn their income, the indigenous hawaiians feel otherwise. Over the years fewer and fewer Indigenous Hawaiians have been willingly to work in the tourism industry, many being opposed to tourism in general. Following the fires, many workers were out of business and struggling to find work, so initially tourism was wanted back in the previously lively place. However now the locals are pushing back on the wanted tourism. Hotels in Maui are currently housing over 5,000 people, who are residents of Maui. These families have lost their homes and need a place to stay without tourists taking up the space in hotels. 

In a news release Hawaii’s attorney general, Anne Lopez, said “We are already seeing various fundraising efforts being promoted on social media platforms and online, in moments of crisis, we all must be extra vigilant against bad actors who try to take advantage of people’s good will.” Maui has recommended using Charity Navigator  and Guidestar if you are looking for a way to donate. They help provide information on nonprofit groups and aid agencies, helping direct people to reputable ones. 

People around the world are taking action in all sorts of ways, even if it’s not by donating, but by spreading awareness. If you are wishing to donate, to help Maui throughout this difficult time four reputable organizations are: The Hawaii Community Foundation , Maui United Way, The American Red Cross, and The Maui Food Bank. But help can be brought in many other ways, such as sharing posts to your instagram story, or keeping up to date on what’s going on. 

Image Source: NBC News

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