Maui Wildfires Response: Death Toll Rises to 110 Amid Controversy Over Warning System
The Maui wildfires response has come under fire as the death toll has risen to 110. According to Hawaii Governor Josh Green. The governor made the announcement at a news conference where officials faced tough questions about the county’s actions as wildfires swept across the island last week. Many residents were forced to flee for their lives, with some even seeking refuge in the ocean.
Maui Wildfires Response: Questions Raised Over Lack of Warning Sirens
Survivors of the wildfires have demanded answers about why no warning sirens were sounded. Hawaii has one of the largest siren warning systems in the world, but the 80 alarms on Maui remained silent.
Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya defended the decision not to use the sirens. Stating that they are primarily used for tsunami warnings.
He argued that sounding the sirens would have directed residents to the mountainside, where the fire was at its worst.
Communication Breakdown During the Fires
Andaya explained that the protocol for fires was to send out notices through texts, voicemails, landlines, televisions, and radios.
However, the fire quickly brought down communication networks, officials said. Governor Green acknowledged that the siren network has been aging over decades and that some sirens were broken.
Governor Green has commissioned the state attorney general to investigate the Maui wildfires response.
He also expressed his intention to prevent real estate grabs in the wake of the disaster. President Biden has promised to provide all necessary resources for recovery and rebuilding efforts.
Lawsuit Over Power Lines in Maui Wildfires Response
Hawaiian Electric is facing a lawsuit alleging that power lines blown over by high winds contributed to the destructive Lahaina wildfire. The company has declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Hawaii News Now broadcaster Jonathan Masaki Shiroma reported on the wildfires while grappling with the loss of four family members and one missing relative.
He spoke of the spirit of ‘ohana’ (family) in Hawaii and the importance of unity, patience, and care for one another.
Tee Dang and her family were vacationing in Lahaina when they had to abandon their rental car and jump into the ocean to escape the advancing flames. Dang expressed gratitude to the residents who rescued her family.
Ross Hart, a 36-year resident of Kula, fought the fire behind his house for over 12 hours before it became clear it was time to go.
He returned to find his home reduced to a pile of metal and ash. Volunteers arrived to help him, demonstrating the strong community spirit in the wake of the disaster.
The Maui wildfires response has been a topic of controversy as residents and officials grapple with the aftermath of the devastating fires.
The death toll has reached 110, and many are still unaccounted for. The lack of warning sirens, communication breakdowns, and ongoing investigations have raised questions about the adequacy of the response.
As the community comes together to support those affected, the focus is on rebuilding and preventing future tragedies.