Hawaii Wildfires - Maui
The sprawling tourist town of Lahaina in western Maui, which has about 13,000 residents, has also been hit hard. Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke (D) said the historic town was “decimated” and “forever changed.” Aerial reports “showed that more than 271 structures have been impacted” in the area and “widespread damage to the West Maui town, the harbor and surrounding areas are being documented,” Maui County officials said.
Pioneer Inn in Lahaina, the oldest continuously operating hotel in Hawaii, was destroyed. Lee Anne Wong, the executive chef at the hotel’s restaurant Papa’aina, said one staff member was missing.
After speculation about whether the 150-year-old banyan tree in Lahaina had survived the wildfires, a video shared by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) showed the tree, which was smoldering at its base, still standing.
Standing at 60 feet high and a quarter of a mile in circumference, it is believed among conservation experts to be the largest tree of its kind in the United States.
Several aid organizations and charities are accepting donations to help those affected by the wildfires. They include: The Maui Mutual Aid Fund, which is accepting donations to support Maui families, elderly residents, people with disabilities and those with limited or no insurance. Aloha United Way, a Honolulu-based nonprofit organization, has created the Maui Fire Relief Fund that will go directly toward efforts supporting victims of the fires, it said.
The Salvation Army’s Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division is accepting donations to provide meals for thousands displaced in Maui emergency shelters, and the Maui Food Bank is also providing meals for thousands of displaced residents.
Meanwhile, a number of verified fundraisers on GoFundMe are raising money to help residents rebuild and recover.
The Maui Police Department is also calling for donations of nonperishable food, bottled water, hygiene items and blankets. Donations can be dropped at Maui’s War Memorial Complex from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. Thursday, it said. The Maui Emergency Management Agency has also posted an updated list of shelters with available space, which are accepting support and volunteers.
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