In the aftermath of the lethal fires that ravaged Maui, hundreds of individuals are still missing. The state’s governor has called on the public to assist authorities by submitting missing persons reports.
At present, officials are addressing 41 active missing persons incidents, according to the words of Governor Josh Green this Monday morning. The compiled listing of individuals unaccounted for – a list combined from federal authority records, local police reports and Red Cross databases – stands at 385. This number is a decrease from a high of around 1,200.
The confirmed fatality count remains steady at 115.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper the previous week, Governor Green assured that significant strides were being made in tracking down the missing. He had forecasted a noticeable reduction in the numbers of unaccounted persons, which frustratingly remained largely undiminished.
“I firmly believe we will be at a figure around the lower double digits come tomorrow, hopefully under 50,” projected Green. “While it brings no comfort – knowing we have lost 115 souls to this disaster – we find some sense of gratitude that the fatalities are not in the vicinity of 800 or 1,000 as was earlier feared. Tomorrow should bring a more definitive number.”
The Governor has requested a thorough evaluation to be led by the attorney general regarding the August 8 fires. This comes amid increasing criticism facing the island authorities over whether they could have taken more proactive measures to alert residents as the fires caused widespread destruction in Lahaina.
In his statement last Thursday, Maui Mayor, Richard T. Bissen, is seeking to clarify the circumstances that occurred in the escalation of the disaster, a time when even top officials were blindsided by the quickly intensifying situation.
“The initial hours of the calamity unfolded under challenging conditions for our emergency responders, with high winds, obstructive debris, like falling utility poles, and the rapid progression of the wildfire,” Bissen noted. “The full scale of the impact was not immediately evident, as our firefighters and police devoted their efforts and resources to help those in the affected zones.”
“As the first day rounded towards the evening, the true horror of the wildfire’s toll on Lahaina became glaringly evident,” Bissen continued,
Bissen admitted that it was only on the morning of August 9 when it came to his knowledge that lives had been lost to the fires.