Tragedy struck the Hawaiian paradise as relentless Maui fires, stoked by the ferocious winds of Hurricane Dora, claimed the lives of six individuals, according to Maui Mayor Richard Bissen.
The fast-moving Hawaii wildfires besieged the picturesque coastal town of Lahaina, leaving destruction and devastation in their wake.
“We are still in a search and rescue mode, and so I don’t know what will happen to that number,” Mayor Bissen expressed somberly.
The fatalities were confirmed just before a press conference with officials, where Mayor Bissen refrained from disclosing specifics about the circumstances of the deaths. He did, however, share that additional individuals were unaccounted for, many potentially sheltering in their vehicles with the Maui fires raging on.
Over 2,100 island residents have sought refuge in five established shelters, a testament to the severity of the situation. Power outages have been rampant, affecting not only homes but also several hotels, leaving tourists stranded and locals in the dark.
Acting Gov. Sylvia Luke, addressing the unfolding crisis, urged incoming tourists to reconsider their travel plans, emphasising, “This is not a safe place to be.” The overstretched resources, coupled with the tumultuous conditions, have pushed the Maui island to its limits.
As flames of the Maui fires forced desperate residents to seek sanctuary in the ocean and hospitals scrambled to treat burn victims, the town of Lahaina, with a population of 12,000, bore the brunt of the devastation. Governor Josh Green lamented that significant portions of the town had been razed, displacing countless families.
Authorities issued stern warnings, urging residents to evacuate and refrain from travelling towards the disaster-stricken areas in Hawaii. The formidable winds, reaching up to 60 mph, exacerbated the ferocity of the Hawaii fires, prompting the National Weather Service to advise property securing and bracing for power outages.
While Hurricane Dora remained hundreds of miles south of the Hawaiian capital, Honolulu, the hurricane’s wind gusts inadvertently fuelled the fires’ rage. The Hawaii fires have scorched vast stretches of land, invoking the activation of the National Guard.
Tragic tales of displacement and uncertainty emerged as families found themselves seeking shelter, airports teemed with stranded travellers, and the island’s infrastructure strained under the unprecedented ordeal. Despite the challenges, Hawaii officials urged unity and vigilance, stressing the importance of heeding evacuation orders and prioritising safety above all.