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Posted on: September 12, 2023

9/12 MAUI WILDFIRE DISASTER UPDATE


 

NEWS UPDATES:

 

MAUI RECOVERS WEBSITE

An official County of Maui website, www.MauiRecovers.orgis providing vital information and assistance, including re-entry data, to those affected by the fires. The website includes:

 

  • Re-entry Information: Guidance on safe re-entry to affected areas, outlining essential safety measures for those returning to their properties.
  • Water and Wastewater Updates: Regular updates on the status of water and wastewater services in impacted areas.
  • Maps and Data: Interactive maps and data resources to facilitate navigation of impacted areas during the recovery process.
  • Fire Debris Removal: Updates on the removal of hazardous materials from areas affected by the fires.
  • Financial and Housing Assistance: Detailed information on available financial and housing assistance programs to support recovery.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Answers to common questions related to the recovery efforts.
  • Individuals can also subscribe to receive real-time updates tailored to assist those impacted by the fires.

 

FIRE UPDATE

  • Olinda fire: 90% contained. Estimated 1,081 acres. 
  • Kula fire: 95% contained. Estimated 202 acres. 
  • Lahaina fire: 100% contained. Estimated 2,170 acres. 

 

The Maui Fire Department (MFD) advises the public that extinguishing the Upcountry fires may take an extended period of time given the large burn area and the nature of the rural terrain. Although containment percentages have not changed over recent days, MFD continues to reassure the public there are no active threats among the three ongoing fires. 

 

AIR QUALITY

The Hawai`i Department of Health on Monday released preliminary, unvalidated data from baseline air sampling conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency in Lahaina and Upcountry areas affected by the fires. EPA collected over 100 samples for the monitoring, which included sampling for specific contaminants including fine particulates (PM2.5 and PM10), volatile organic compounds, asbestos, lead, and arsenic. The purpose of air sampling is to measure how much of a specific contaminant is present in the air over a period of time.

 

The data, which have not been finalized by the laboratory, can be viewed at the following links: 

https://health.hawaii.gov/mauiwildfires/files/2023/09/Maui-Air-Preliminary-Data-1.png

https://health.hawaii.gov/mauiwildfires/files/2023/09/Maui-Air-Preliminary-Data-2.png

Once the laboratory finalizes the data, it will be validated by an independent group to perform additional quality control/quality assurance checks, in a process that could take several weeks.

 

In addition to the laboratory testing, EPA and DOH installed 13 real-time PM2.5 sensors in Lahaina and Upcountry. While the PM2.5 air quality sensors in Lahaina and Upcountry currently indicate the air quality is good, air quality sensors are indicators of the ambient air quality in the areas they are located, according to the Department of Health. It is important to note that disturbances of burned debris may cause ash and dust to become airborne. Masks and other personal protective equipment continue to be recommended.

 

FATALITY AND SEARCH UPDATE

Confirmed fatality numbers and identification information are included in the Maui Police Department’s daily press release, anticipated to be issued by 6 p.m. daily. For that information, please visit: bit.ly/MauiPoliceNews. There are 115 confirmed fatalities, with 99% of the Lahaina disaster area searched, according to officials. 

 

ENTRY INTO DISASTER AREAS

At this time, there is no list allowing residents to return to the disaster area in Lahaina. There will be a coordinated effort to develop a plan for the safe return of residents. Currently, the disaster area is restricted to authorized personnel only. Dangers include ash that may contain toxic, cancer-causing chemicals with debris including broken glass, exposed electrical wire, and other objects. Unstable structures may contain hazardous materials and could collapse, causing injury. For those who can return to their properties, county officials urge all individuals to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). For more PPE recommendations, please visit bit.ly/WestMauiCaution.

 

UNSAFE WATER ADVISORY

The County of Maui Department of Water Supply has completed two rounds of water testing with no results in those rounds exceeding applicable state or federal safe drinking water standards in areas of Kula. However, the Unsafe Water Advisory remains in effect pending the results of additional testing now underway. This third round of testing must be completed and the water verified to be safe before the Unsafe Water Advisory may be amended for Kula water customers, in accordance with a process the Department of Water Supply developed with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

The latest testing included water samples taken from inside numerous fire hydrants. Results showed the presence of lead attributed to water in those fire hydrants. Water pressure within the distribution system prevents the lead from migrating back into the system or reaching customersʻ homes and businesses. In an abundance of caution, the Department of Water Supply is flushing the fire hydrants to remove the contaminant and is conducting an additional round of testing to verify that the distribution system is free of lead and the water is safe to drink.

 

Pending receipt of these final results, the Department of Water Supply will examine the Unsafe Water Advisory and provide additional guidance on what affected communities may safely return to consuming their county water. Until the Unsafe Water Advisory is amended or canceled, affected Kula water customers are reminded to continue drinking only bottled water or using sterilized containers to fill water from county water tankers for consumption and hygiene needs.

 

An interactive map depicting the precise location of the Unsafe Water Advisory is available at bit.ly/mauiwateradvisory

 

Until further notice, residents in Unsafe Water Advisory areas of Lahaina and Kula should only use bottled water or potable water provided from tankers for things like drinking, brushing teeth, ice-making, and food preparation. Residents in impacted areas are not able to treat the water in any way to make it safe to consume, with contaminants possibly having entered the water system.

 

For safe, potable water, please bring large, sterilized water containers to: 

  • Lahaina: Lahaina Gateway Center, Honokohau Valley, Behind Lahaina Baseyard, Kahoma Village, Hawaiian Homes/Lahaina Civic Center
  • Upper Kula: Kula Lodge, Copp Road, Holy Ghost Church, Rice Park, Ching Store, Ulupalakua Ranch Store

 

UNACCOUNTED-FOR INDIVIDUALS

We still need your help identifying individuals reported unaccounted for following the Lahaina wildfire disaster. The validated list of names is available at mauinuistrong.info/unaccountedfor. If you recognize a name on the list and know the person to be safe, or have additional information that may help locate them, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at (888) 814-7693 or go to www.fbi.gov/MauiFires

 

Anyone wishing to report an individual who is still unaccounted for is asked to email [email protected] and provide the following information:

  • Person reporting: first and last name, contact information and relationship with the unaccounted for individual.
  • Unaccounted individual: first and last name, age or date of birth, last known location and last known physical address of residence. 

 

Family members on Maui who wish to submit DNA for use in identifying someone who is unaccounted for are asked to contact the Family Assistance Center by calling (808) 270-7771 or sending an email to [email protected] to schedule an appointment.

 

If you live on a neighbor island or the U.S. Mainland, are the immediate family member of a person missing as the result of the Maui wildfires, and you wish to provide a DNA sample to assist, please call the FBI Honolulu Division at (808) 566-4300 or email [email protected].

 

DNA samples are only for identification of wildfire victims and survivors, and will not be stored or used for any other purpose. 

 

The FAC has received reports about Maui community members receiving calls from individuals or organizations claiming to be with “DNA Services.” These telephone calls are scams, and anyone receiving them should hang up immediately and report them to the Maui Police Department’s non-emergency number at (808) 244-6400.

 

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REMOVAL 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been assigned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to survey, remove, and dispose of hazardous material from properties affected by the wildfires in Lahaina, Kula, and Olinda. Hazardous materials could include compressed gas cylinders, pesticides, fertilizers and ammunition, as well as lithium-ion batteries, and in particular solar battery storage on homes. As of September 12, the EPA has nine teams in Lahaina performing assessment and removal of hazardous materials for Phase 1. EPA has completed work in Kula and has completed removal of hazardous material at 464 properties in total. 

  

RESOURCE UPDATES:

 

FOOD DISTRIBUTION / DONATIONS

Food and supplies will be distributed to West Maui residents at a new location at Kahana Gateway

Shopping Center, 4405 Honoapi`ilani Highway, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Walk-up meals are available at lunch and dinner. Feed My Sheep holds a drive-thru distribution from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays.

 

Walk-up meals are available in Kahului at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College at lunch from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.and at dinner from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

 

The old Kahului Safeway at 170 E. Kamehameha Ave. is open as a new location to accept donations of non-perishable food, water, and paper supplies only. Donations will be accepted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those impacted by the fires can also pick up supplies during those hours.

 

Feed my Sheep mobile food distribution sites are set up at: 150 South Pu‘unene Ave. in Kahului (9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays) and in the parking lot next to Living Way Church, at the corner of Market and Mokuhau streets in Happy Valley (10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Fridays).

 

RESOURCE HUB: DONATION & VOLUNTEER INFORMATION 

An online, centralized hub to respond to the impacts of the Maui Wildfire Disaster is available at mauinuistrong.info. The County of Maui’s “Maui Nui Strong” site offers information on how to donate, volunteer, offer services and locate support. Support information on the Maui Nui Strong site includes resources for Financial Assistance, Government Services, Medical Care, Mental Health Services and more. 

 

CALL CENTER

The State of Hawaiʻi and Maui County have launched the Maui Disaster Support Call Center. The call center can be reached at (808) 727-1550 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and provides a central assistance hub for community members affected by the Maui wildfires.

 

COMMUNITY INFORMATION BOARDS

Information boards are now located at these locations

  • Kula Lodge Water Hub - 15200 Haleakala Hwy., Kula 
  • Napili Park - 22 Maiha Street, Napili
  • Napili Plaza - 5095 Napilihau St., Lahaina
  • S-Turns Pohaku Park ‘Ohana - Lower Honoapi‘ilani Rd., Honowokai 
  • Times Supermarket Honokowai - 3350 Lower Honoapi‘ilani Rd., Lahaina
  • Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa - 2605 Ka‘anapali Parkway, Ka‘anapali 
  • Hyatt Regency Maui - 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Lahaina
  • Lahaina Gateway Center - 325 Keawe St., Lahaina
  • Kelawea Mauka 2 - Niheu Street (Lahainaluna Road) 
  • Kelawea Mauka 3 - North Hopoe Place (Lahainaluna Road)  
  • Kelawea Mauka Makai Park Hub, near Lahainaluna Road and Lahaina Bypass 
  • Disaster Recovery Center, Lahaina Civic Center, 1840 Honoapi`ilani Highway
  • Safeway Kihei - 277 Pi‘ikea Ave., Kihei

 

SHELTERS

Friday, September 15, 2023, at 5 p.m. is the deadline for fire survivors to register for and be entered into the emergency lodging program with the American Red Cross, state of Hawai`i and FEMA. Eligible households who have not yet contacted the Red Cross and still need a safe place to stay can call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1 (800) 733-2767) before the deadline.

 

The deadline for applying for the Red Cross financial assistance program is 5 p.m. September 18. Eligible households who have not received a call, text or email from the Red Cross and believe they have qualifying damage can visit redcross.org/hihelp for more information.

 

Temporary housing is available at 32 locations around Maui, in coordination with the Red Cross. There were 7,323 people housed overnight Monday at the locations, which provide a temporary solution to give families and individuals a comfortable and safe place to stay near their communities while more permanent housing plans are developed. Residents in hotels receive the same Red Cross services previously provided in shelters, including meals, mental health support, health services, reunification services, spiritual care, financial assistance and casework. As part of the recovery process, Red Cross caseworkers connect one-on-one with people to create recovery plans, navigate complex paperwork and locate help from other agencies. On Monday, 13,128 meals were served at various locations.

 

Residents who are sheltering in hotels will be asked to show proof of identity and prior residency within impacted areas of Maui County by September 15. People who are unable to provide proof of residency, including non-citizens and those who did not have stable housing prior to the disaster, should call (800) 733-2767 for help.

 

Anyone who meets requirements once the Safe Harbor Sheltering program ends can expect to receive lodging support for the next six months to a year. The determination for a continued stay beyond the Safe Harbor end date is based on meeting eligibility criteria, which is a determination of the state and FEMA and not a decision made by the Red Cross.

 

To register with FEMA for shelter or financial assistance, call 1 (800) 621-3362, visit disasterassistance.gov, or apply through the FEMA smartphone app. You can also get assistance in person. 
 
 Disaster Recovery Center
s operate daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at three locations -- the University of Hawai‘i Maui College (310 W. Ka‘ahumanu Ave., Community Services Building 205)Lahaina Civic Center gymnasium, 1840 Honoapiʻilani Highway; and Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, located at 91 Pukalani St., Makawao.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

The three major wireless carriers – Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T -- are reporting near pre-fire operations with near-equivalent coverage and capacity. The area with less than pre-fire coverage is the portion of Lahaina around Limahana Place and Circle, which is the location where all three carriers lost their sites. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has temporarily waived certain eligibility rules to ensure that people receiving federal disaster assistance due to the Maui fires can easily apply for and enroll in Lifeline, a federal program that helps to lower the cost of phone and internet service. More information, including how to enroll, is available at https://www.lifelinesupport.org/

UNEMPLOYMENT 
 
Workers, business owners, and self-employed residents of Maui who became unemployed or had reduced work hours due to the wildfires may be eligible for disaster unemployment benefits from Aug. 13, 2023, to Feb. 10, 2024, if unemployment continues to be a direct result of the disaster. Regular unemployment insurance and disaster unemployment benefits cannot be paid at the same time. The deadline to apply is September 25. To apply, go to https://uiclaims.hawaii.gov. Those who are not able to file online can apply toll-free:(833) 901-2272;  (833) 901-2275; (808) 762-5751 or (808) 762-5752. 

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT 
 
Many people are experiencing strong emotions, anguish, and deep loss following the devastating Maui fires. Mental health support is available. Visit www.mauinuistrong.info for a comprehensive list of resources for individuals, families and helpers. In addition, the Red Cross Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24/7 for counseling and support: (800) 985-5990

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