Hawaii wildfires death toll stands at 80, thousands of structures destroyed

August 12, 2023

Hawaii is currently experiencing what will likely end up remembered as the worst natural disaster ever to hit the island state, as multiple wildfires continue to scorch the Big Island and Maui.

The fires have left not only billions in damage and lost historical landmarks, but even worse, a trail of fatalities.

According to the latest figures reported Saturday by NBC News, there have so far been 80 confirmed deaths as a result of the wildfires. Local leaders have warned that the number will likely continue to rise.

According to staggering figures released by the Pacific Disaster Center and Federal Emergency Management Agency, rebuilding what has been destroyed so far could cost well over $5 billion.

The latest

Images from Lahaina, the popular tourist town that took the hardest hit from the wildfires, look more like a post-apocalyptic scene from a Hollywood movie set.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that teams of dogs trained to sniff for bodies in rubble were deployed to several areas around the island.

As a result of the widespread fires, the housing situation is also now an immediate concern as thousands of residents have been displaced with nowhere else to go.

The AP reported:

Officials scrambled on Saturday to find temporary housing for more than 4,000 people as the astonishing scope of the devastation became clear. Communications were difficult, with 30 cell towers still offline, and power outages were expected to last several weeks on the western side of the island, where some fires had still not been contained as of late Friday.

Widespread damage

Civil Air Patrol flights reported over the weekend that some 1700 structures had been destroyed by the deadly fires, leaving parts of the island completely scorched and turned essentially to ash.

The AP noted:

Flyovers by the Civil Air Patrol found 1,692 structures destroyed — almost all of them residential. Officials earlier had said 2,719 structures were exposed to the fire — with more than 80% damaged or destroyed. Nine boats sank in Lahaina Harbor, officials determined using sonar.

Tragically, many of the island's residents reported that they were not prepared for the fire, as they said they were given little to no warning.

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