As the death toll from the fires tearing through the Hawaiian island of Maui rises, President Joe Biden is announcing that federal help is on the way.
President Biden Says “Every Asset Will Be Available” To Victims Of The Ongoing Crisis
According to AP News, Biden acknowledged the situation while in Utah, and he declared, “Anyone who’s lost a loved one, or whose home has been damaged or destroyed, is going to get help immediately.”
He also relayed that, in addition to heartfelt prayer, he’s ready to provide Hawaii with “every asset” during its time of need.
“Our prayers are with the people of Hawaii. But not just our prayers. Every asset we have will be available to them.”
Adam Weintraub, a spokesperson for Hawaii Emergency Management, told AP News that the fires are far from fully-contained, though. In fact, he declared, “We are still in life preservation mode.”
“Search and rescue is still a primary concern. Our search and rescue teams from Maui and supporting agencies are not able to do their job until the fire lines are secure and they’re sure that they’re going to be able to get to those areas safely.”
Weintraub went on to acknowledge that, while people are already antsy to play the blame game, the current priority is helping out those who are still in danger.
“I think that there is a great temptation to shift immediately to what went wrong, who’s to blame. What we have here is a natural disaster. There may have been questions that need to be examined about whether it was handled in the right way. But we still got people in danger. We still have people who don’t have homes. We still have people who can’t find their loved ones.”
Check out footage of how the Maui wildfires impacted Lahaina, the one-time capital of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, and forced people to seek refuge in the Pacific Ocean.
The scene in Lahaina, Maui this morning is absolutely devastating.
The entire town is being destroyed by an intense wildfire, forcing residents to sheek shelter in the ocean.
Make no mistake, climate change is making scenes like this more frequent. pic.twitter.com/dttFnAwEeJ
— Edgar McGregor (@edgarrmcgregor) August 9, 2023
Biden’s Pledge Comes As The Maui Death Toll Rises To At Least 36 People
NBC News reports that there are currently six fires raging through Maui, and Hawaii Emergency Management is cited as noting that around 2,000 acres have burned. Winds from Hurricane Dora helped fuel the conflagration, which began on Tuesday evening (Aug. 8).
The outlet also notes that, as of Thursday (Aug. 10), at least 36 people have lost their lives. However, officials reportedly warn that the number could rise even higher.
In light of the ongoing situation, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) ordered that the state capitol fly the flags at half-mast.
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