In the aftermath of the horrific wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui, we're beginning to understand the immense devastation on Maui island. Search and rescue teams have found a staggering 93 victims, and the number is expected to rise.
First responders combed through the wreckage this weekend to find victims and survivors to try to bring closure to families affected by the disaster, as the Chronicle reported. They’ve found 93 victims so far, the highest death toll from a wildfire in more than a century, per AP News.
With only a mere two victims out of the confirmed 93 identified to this point, officials are reportedly asking for DNA to help with identification, as the fire's intensity melted metal and left only fragments of remains to be recovered.
They’re also bracing for an inevitable rise in the grim count. Canine search teams have only been able to get through about 3% of the disaster zone, according to the NY Times.
“It will certainly be the worst natural disaster that Hawaii ever faced,” Hawaii Governor Josh Green said, as AP reported. “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.”
Up to 4,500 people have reportedly been displaced and are in need of shelter. More than 2,200 buildings were also damaged or destroyed, and across the island, the cost of the devastation was estimated at close to $6 billion. And firefighters are still dealing with flare-ups across the island, county officials said on Facebook.
Still, amid the recovery efforts, the Chronicle reported that a glaring issue remains: the lack of effective communication from Hawaiian officials during the wildfires. The 80 warning sirens scattered around Maui reportedly never went off, as none of them were activated by county authorities or the state’s emergency management agencies in response to the advancing fires.
Hawaii's Attorney General, Anne Lopez, has pledged to oversee an exhaustive evaluation of the decision-making process, according to the Chronicle. Lopez said in a statement on Friday, "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."
As Maui grapples with the aftermath of this devastating wildfire, a community mourns its losses and demands answers.
Image via Hawaii Governor Josh Green on Facebook.