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Maui fire deadliest natural disaster in state’s history

todayAugust 12, 2023

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

(MAUI, Hawaii) — Maui county officials reported 12 additional deaths on Friday bringing the count to 67.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stated in its press release that 85% of the Lahaina fire was contained, the Pulehu/Kihei fire is 80% contained and the Upcountry Maui fire is only 50% contained.

FEMA confirmed firefighters are still “battling flare-ups in all three fires.”

With residents now allowed back into Lahaina to check on their homes and asses damage, that number is expected to keep rising.

According to a statement from Maui county officials earlier Friday, residents who could show “proof of residency and visitors with proof of hotel reservations will have access.” A curfew remains in place from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m., as West Maui remains without power or water.

The latest death toll marks this the deadliest natural disaster in the state’s history. Previously, the deadliest natural disaster in the state occurred in 1960, when a tsunami killed 61 people.

Attorney General Anne Lopez announced Friday that her department will be “conducting a comprehensive review of critical decision-making and standing policies leading up to, during, and after the wildfires on Maui.”

Noting the ongoing relief effort, Lopez’s statement continued, “Now is the time to begin this process of understanding.”

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said the devastating damage the fires continue to cause on the island have made Maui look like “a war zone.”

“The closest thing I can compare it to is perhaps a war zone or maybe a bomb went off,” Bissen told ABC News’ Eva Pilgrim in an interview Friday on “Good Morning America.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency for Hawaii due to the wildfires.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Written by: ABC News

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