A new week dawned on Maui with residents still reeling from the devastating consequences of massive wildfires that destroyed large swaths of the island and literally wiped Lahaina off the map. The actual death toll from the hellish blazes is not yet known, despite the fires having been extinguished for about two weeks.
Hawaii Governor Josh Green and Maui Mayor Elmer Cravalho Update on Catastrophe
Both Hawaii Governor Josh Green and Maui Mayor Elemer Cravalho updated residents of the island and others on the status of affairs two weeks after the wildfires finally were extinguished. According to these officials:
More than 850 people are still reported missing, primarily in Lahaina
1,285 individuals previously reported missing have been identified as being safe
114 people have been confirmed dead
Of the 114 people confirmed dead, only 27 have been identified by officials
11 families have been notified officially about the loss of their loved ones
No names of deceased individuals have been released at this time due to the state of the recovery efforts
While not expressly stated, it is now presumed that of the 850 people missing, most of these individuals likely did lose their lives in the catastrophic wildfires
Multiple Failures Likely Worsened the Consequences of the Wildfires
As the dust continues to settle over Lahaina and other points on the island, it is becoming clear that the loss of life has been aggravated by failures of a number of entities to take appropriate action when the wildfires broke out on the island. In other words, had proper action been taken at the start of the disaster, fewer people would have lost their lives in Lahaina and elsewhere.
First, Hawaiian Electric appears to have aggravated the situation by not shutting down powerlines when the blazes started on Maui. Experts now maintain that the extent of damage and the loss of life would have been less if Hawaiian Electric had taken the basic, obvious, and reasonable step of terminating service in effected areas in a timely manner.
Second, neither the County of Maui nor the State of Hawaii activated warning sirens on the island when the wildfires clearly presented a threat to life, limb, and property. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency confirmed that it had no record of any warning sirens being activated. There are 80 sirens located across Maui, all silent as wildfires broke out on the island. The individual in charge of activating the emergency sirens put forth the incomprehensible excuse that if he had sounded the alarms, residents would have thought a tsunami was threatened and would have run into the wildfires.
Finally, it now also appears that water was not readily available to fight the wildfires at some locations as the result of a convoluted and inequitable system of water distribution in place on Maui and in other locations across Hawaii. Simply, it is reported that many wealthier Hawaiians have wider access to water than do others who live on the island. In short, as a result of this inequitable distribution scheme, a considerable majority of residents of Maui lacked access to the water needed to battle the deadly wildfires.
We are Here for You
If you have lost a family member or have been injured in the Maui wildfires, our caring, compassionate, experienced team at The Doan Law Firm is here for you. We are a nationwide law firm with 40 offices located in the United States. You can connect with our firm any time of the day or night by calling us at (800) 349-0000. We are here to answer any questions you might have in this extremely challenging time. Our team will continue to monitor developments on Maui.
There is no cost and no obligation for a consultation with our legal team. Indeed, our firm never charges an attorney fee unless we are successful in obtaining justice, accountability, and deserved compensation for our clients.