Police Ban Residents From Returning to Homes: At Least 89 Dead and 2,200 Destroyed Buildings in Hawaii Fires

Police Ban Residents From Returning to Homes: At Least 89 Dead and 2,200 Destroyed Buildings in Hawaii Fires

while after the devastating bush fires on that belonging to Hawaii Island of Maui As the extent of the devastation becomes clear, the death toll continues to rise. Again Governor of the State of Hawaii, John Greenannounced on Saturday, arrived at the natural disaster at least 89 people died. The city of Lahaina, popular with vacationers, has almost completely burned out. Meanwhile, criticism of the authorities’ crisis management is increasing.

“We counted 89 deaths and the number will continue to rise‘ Green explained. “We want people to prepare for this,” he added. In a previous balance sheet, “at least 80 dead” had been mentioned.

More than 2200 buildings were through the flames damaged or destroyed, as the US civil protection agency Fema announced on Saturday. More than 1410 people were in emergency shelters accommodated.

The fire destroyed his rental apartment in the seaside resort of Lahaina and burned all his belongings and memories, Anthony Garcia complained. “It took everything, everything. It breaks my heart,” said the 80-year-old Californian, who moved to Hawaii 30 years ago.

The historical city with 13,000 inhabitants, once the home of the Hawaiian royal family, is now mostly in ruins. The hotels and restaurants, previously scenes of hustle and bustle, burned down to the ground. Fema estimates the cost of rebuilding the affected communities at around $5.5 billion.

Even on a majestic one Banyan tree that has been in the city center for 150 years stands, the flames have left their mark. The one-time tourist attraction is still standing, but the foliage has burned and its sooty trunk looks like an ugly skeleton.

We underestimated the danger, the speed of fire

Jill TokuaUS Congressman

The decisions made by the authorities “before, during and after the forest fires on the islands of Maui and Hawaii” would be “comprehensively” checked, said Attorney General Anne Lopez on Friday (local time).

People watch smoke and flames from a forest fire.  In Hawaii, the situation is coming to a head because of strong bush and forest fires on the island of Maui.  f
People watch smoke and flames from a forest fire. In Hawaii, the situation is coming to a head because of strong bush and forest fires on the island of Maui. f
© dpa/Alan Dickar

“We have the danger that Speed ​​of fire underestimated‘ admitted US Congresswoman Jill Tokua on CNN on Saturday. Jeremy Greenberg, Fema’s chief of operations and himself a firefighter for many years, told MSNBC the fire was among those that were “extraordinarily difficult” to control because they were spreading so rapidly.

Fires in Hawaii: criticism of the authorities is increasing

Meanwhile, criticism of the authorities’ handling of the devastating natural disaster increased. Numerous residents criticized that they were not warned of the fire by sirens, and accused those responsible of failure. People could only have relied on word of mouth, resident William Harry said upon returning to the historic town of Lahaina, which was 80 percent burned to the ground.

A spokesman for the agency responsible for crisis management in Hawaii told CNN that the Sirens to warn of fires were not triggered. According to him, warnings were sent to the residents’ mobile phones. However, due to numerous power outages and network problems, many residents did not receive the warnings, and in some places the emergency call did not work either.

Lahaina residents are not allowed in their homes

Lahaina residents, meanwhile, were allowed on Saturday not return to their homes “until the area is declared safe“, as reported by the police. Who enters the disaster area, must with bis to a year in prison and a fine expect from 2000 dollars, it said. Several people waited for hours at a suddenly erected roadblock hoping to return to their homes and search for missing loved ones or pets.

The bush and forest fires on Maui and the neighboring island of Hawaii – also known as the Big Island – broke out on Tuesday. Strong winds caused the flames to spread rapidly. (AFP)

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