Missing Persons List Released for Maui Wildfires

11:14 25.08.2023

The aftermath of the deadliest wildfire in the United States in over a century continues to unfold, as officials in Hawaii released the names of 338 people who are still missing more than two weeks after the devastating blaze tore through the resort town of Lahaina on the island of Maui. The list, compiled by the FBI, includes only those individuals whose full names are known and have been reported missing by someone with verified contact information.

The death toll from the August 8 fire currently stands at 115, but authorities have warned that this number is likely to rise significantly as search teams continue to sift through the ashes. In a bid to locate missing individuals and gather more information, officials have urged anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of someone on the list to contact the FBI. Additionally, relatives of the missing have been encouraged to submit the names of their loved ones and provide DNA samples to aid in the identification of remains. However, the number of families that have provided DNA samples thus far is lower than expected, adding further challenges to the already difficult task faced by authorities.

Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier acknowledged the pain that releasing the names of the missing can cause for families, but emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough investigation. He stated, "This is not an easy thing to do, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible."

Earlier in the week, officials had announced that there were approximately 1,000 to 1,100 people still unaccounted for. However, they cautioned that this count included individuals with only a single name, duplicate listings, and those whose genders were unclear. As of Thursday afternoon, 1,732 people initially reported missing had been found.

The wildfire, which was fueled by high winds from a passing hurricane and dry conditions, ravaged Lahaina at an alarming speed, leaving survivors with little to no warning. Some residents were forced to jump into the Pacific Ocean to escape the fast-moving flames. The tragedy has prompted officials to review the island's emergency alert protocols.

Furthermore, in a surprising development, Maui County has sued Hawaiian Electric for allegedly failing to shut down its equipment despite warnings of high winds that could knock down power lines. The company expressed disappointment in the county's decision to take legal action while the investigation is still ongoing.

The devastation caused by the fire in Lahaina is unprecedented, with the death toll currently surpassing that of any wildfire in the United States since a 1918 forest fire in Minnesota and Wisconsin claimed the lives of over 450 people.

The release of the list of missing individuals in Lahaina follows a similar strategy employed in Northern California after the Camp Fire in 2018. By releasing the list, authorities were able to gradually reduce the number of missing people from 1,300 to a dozen within a month. The final death toll from the Camp Fire was 85 individuals.

The situation in Lahaina remains dire, as search-and-rescue teams continue to search for human remains in the rubble and ashes left behind by the devastating wildfire. Families anxiously await news about their missing loved ones, while officials work tirelessly to identify the victims and provide closure to grieving families. The road to recovery will be long, but the community remains resilient in the face of this tragedy.

/ Friday, August 25, 2023, 11:14 AM /

themes:  California  Wisconsin  Minnesota  Hawaii

All rights to the materials belong to the sources indicated under the heading of each news and their authors.