In a statement directed to U.S. President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth conveyed his heartfelt condolences in response to the dire catastrophe unfolding in the State of Hawaii.
The island of Maui, nestled within the Hawaiian archipelago in the Central Pacific, is currently reeling from a profound tragedy. County officials in Maui disclosed on Friday that an additional 12 lives had been claimed by the wildfires, elevating the total death count to a staggering 67.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that the Upcountry Maui fire is partially contained at 50%, while the Pulehu/Kihei fire is 80% contained, and the Lahaina fire stands at 85% containment.
Amidst continued firefighting efforts, instances of flare-ups are being confronted across all three fire zones, as confirmed by FEMA.
As the situation evolves, local residents are now allowed to reenter Lahaina for the assessment of their homes and the evaluation of wildfire-inflicted damages. Maui county officials clarified that individuals providing "proof of residency and visitors with proof of hotel reservations" will be granted entry. A curfew from 10 pm to 6 am is in effect due to the absence of electricity and water supply in West Maui.
This devastating incident now stands as the deadliest natural disaster in the state's history. The previous significant catastrophe dates back to 1960 when a tsunami claimed over 60 lives.
Attorney General Anne Lopez announced on Friday that her office will conduct a comprehensive review encompassing pivotal decision-making and standing policies leading up to, during, and after the Maui wildfires. Acknowledging the ongoing relief endeavors, Lopez stated, "Now is the time to begin this process of understanding."
Mayor Richard Bissen of Maui County vividly described the enduring devastation's impact on the island, likening it to "a war zone." "The closest I can compare it to is maybe a war zone or maybe a bomb went off," Mayor Richard Bissen expressed.
In light of the escalating wildfires, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency in Hawaii.