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Hawaii Wildfires Update: Response And Recovery Efforts

FEMA personnel, Federal partners are in Maui providing critical aid to residents, communities and businesses.

Hawaii Wildfires
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell (left), U.S. Fire Administrator Moore-Merrell (right) and Hawaii Gov. Josh Green tour Maui wildfire damages. (Photos: Courtesy of FEMA)

As fire containment efforts continue in response to the Hawaii wildfires, FEMA is working with federal partners to provide immediate relief and lend support to the state-led and locally executed mission on the ground in Maui. More than 250 FEMA staff are deployed and leveraging partner agency expertise to help Hawaii residents and communities jumpstart their recovery.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell and U.S. Small Business Administration Associate Administrator Francisco Sànchez, Jr. surveyed catastrophic damage on the island, as field assessments, initial debris assessments and housing inspections are underway. Criswell and Dr. Moore-Merrell met with state and local officials, as well as first responders and volunteers who have helped save lives since the fires began.  

In the video below, Administrator Criswell, U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Moore-Merrell and Hawaii Governor Green assess the severe damage on the island and identifying ways that FEMA and the entire federal family can provide long-term relief to the affected communities.

“The firefighters in Maui County are to be commended for their heroic firefighting efforts,” said Dr. Moore-Merrell. “As the fire quickly out-paced suppression efforts, they kept fighting even as many of them have lost their homes. As I talk with them during our station visits, they are extremely passionate about remaining on duty, while being encouraged to take appropriate rest for their own physical and mental well-being.” 

federal, local responders join forces

Federal, state and county emergency responders are joining forces with non-profit partners to begin addressing the immediate needs of survivors affected by the devastating Hawaii wildfires.  

Here’s a rundown of their activities as of August 13: 

  • More than 250 FEMA personnel are deployed to assist Hawaii residents, including 45 Disaster Survivor Assistance staff who are visiting shelters in Maui to help survivors register for assistance and identify and report any critical needs.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service approved Hawaii’s request for impacted Child Nutrition Programs and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. The USDA is also coordinating pet reunification activities on the ground and is assessing ability to supply food and water to large animals in Lahaina. 
  • The U.S. Department of State granted a fee waiver for people who lost their U.S. passport book or passport card as a result of the wildfires in Hawaii. 
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved a public health emergency effective Aug. 8 through Nov. 6, which provides greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in Hawaii.
  • The American Red Cross and Maui County continue to staff and support six shelters where food, water, hygiene kits and other essential resources are provided to survivors who are unable to return home. Since the fires began, the Red Cross and partners have provided almost 2,900 overnight shelter stays. As of today, approximately 240 Red Cross personnel are responding or actively deploying and around 100 volunteers are participating in a virtual call center to assist with shelter registrations.
  • FEMA mission assigned debris management and temporary emergency power to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to help clear up roads and stabilize electric service as well as the Environmental Protection Agency for household hazardous waste removal activities that are essential to begin recovery work in the impacted areas. USACE also completed its initial hazardous materials assessment in Maui. 
  • Hawaiian Electric restored additional circuits in West Maui and crews completed the installation of a mobile substation at the Lahainaluna substation, which is expected to help restore power to customers in the neighboring subdivisions. 
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is actively conducting assessments of critical infrastructure and communications systems and coordinating with private sector partners to establish temporary communications solutions. 
  • Hawaii National Guard has staff in Maui with another 200 staff expected in the coming days to support Maui Police Department safety and security activities in the impacted areas.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has flight restrictions in place in Maui to assist emergency response efforts. 
  • The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting underwater surveys of the Lahaina harbor using sonar technology to identify structural damage. 
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration encourages homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofits to apply for low interest disaster loans. Businesses can apply for up to $2 million for physical damage or economic injury.

Click here to read more about Disaster Recovery on Continuity Insights.

Maui County
U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell (right) speaks with Wailuku Fire Chief Bradford Ventura concerning the ongoing response to the Hawaii wildfires and working with FEMA and our federal partners.
Hawaii Wildfires
FEMA Administrator Criswell, Hawaii Governor Green and the US Fire Administration and other partners tour Maui wildfire damage.
Hawaii Governor Green speaks with emergency response official in Wailuku.
Hawaii Wildfires
American Red Cross officials discuss the ongoing response to the Maui wildfires, working with FEMA and federal partners.
Maui County
FEMA officials discuss Hawaii Wildfires response with the US Army Corps of Engineers and federal partners.
Hawaii Wildfires
The first of 32 generators arrive at the FEMA staging area in Maui.
Maui County
Emergency supplies arrive for Maui Wildfire survivors.
Continuity Insights

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