The devastating fire that rocked the small town of Lahaina in Maui has already been declared one of the deadliest in the United States in over a century, and yet the tragedy continues as more than 1,000 people remain unaccounted for, according to Hawaii Governor Josh Green’s remarks during an interview over the weekend.
The fire, which occurred two weeks ago, has been met with intense criticism directed toward the Biden administration for its perceived lack of response and support. During the CBS News’ “Face The Nation” Sunday, host Margaret Brennan put the question to Green asking him “How many are still unaccounted for, and how long will it take to identify remains?” Green soberly replied that more than 1,050 people are still unaccounted for and that it could take weeks in order to fully clear out the 15% of the impact zone that remains to be searched.
The severity of the fire has only added to the challenge of identifying the remains of the decedents. According to Green, the extreme temperatures of the blaze have caused some of the remains to be “impossible to recover meaningfully,” adding yet another task to the long list of tragic losses the fire has caused. Despite the challenges, Governor Green assured viewers that the state was utilizing all available resources, including the FBI, to identify any remains that were to be found.
The magnitude of the Maui tragedy has not been lost on many, especially following the confirmation that the reported death toll has now surpassed 100. President Biden himself has since taken steps to express his condolences and to attempt to show his support for the people of Maui. On Saturday, Biden signed an executive order to support the island’s recovery efforts, located off the west coast of the United States. He also spoke directly to those affected by the tragedy, telling them that they were in his thoughts and prayers.
While the Biden administration’s actions may prove to be beneficial in the long run, the tragedy is sure to linger for some time. For that reason, the Maui community must now wait for the identification of those 1,050 who remain unaccounted for and hope that the recovery efforts can move quickly and efficiently, and with as much compassion as possible. For now, the community can only remain as supportive as possible of those searching for the missing and offer their prayers and condolences to those who have lost loved ones in this tragic event.