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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Death Toll Among Hawaii Wildfires Victims Rises to 80


Sat 12 Aug 2023 | 10:16 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

In an unprecedented disaster, a massive fire swept through Maui, claiming the lives of 80 individuals, making it the deadliest catastrophe in Hawaii's history. This surpasses the tragic death toll of the 1960 tsunami that left 61 individuals dead.

The Hawaiian Judiciary initiated an investigation last Friday into the handling of the calamitous fire, following questions raised by the archipelago’s residents. There were alarming reports that emergency sirens did not sound off, leaving some residents unprepared and caught off guard.

  

According to Maui County's recent statistics, approximately 1,418 people have been evacuated to safer zones and shelters.

Lahaina, previously known as the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, was nearly consumed by the flames. The aftermath has left its residents in shock, with many returning to the ashes of their homes, and emotions range from sorrow to anger. Many were heard exchanging news and rumors, as quoted by William Harry from the France-Presse Agency. An anonymous resident questioned the government's whereabouts, showcasing the level of distress among the citizens.

The crisis in Maui saw numerous power outages, with even emergency helpline numbers ceasing operation in parts of the island.

Multiple fires erupted simultaneously, causing the fire department to spread their resources thin. Residents in Lahaina were caught so off-guard that dozens resorted to jumping into the sea, escaping the encroaching flames, as reported by the coast guard.

In light of these events, Ann Lopez, the Attorney General of the US Hawaiian Islands, declared an investigation into the management of these devastating fires. She reassured the public, stating, "My team is committed to examining the decisions made before and during the fires and sharing the results of this audit with the public."

Although the sirens were not activated, alerts were reportedly sent to residents' mobile phones and broadcasted on radio and television.

This tragic incident has left a scar in the hearts of Hawaiians and a question mark on the preparedness and response mechanisms of the state. With the investigations underway, residents and the world await answers and hope for measures to ensure that such a tragedy does not recur.