Death toll in deadly Hawaiian wildfires reach 106, Biden to visit Maui soon

Federal officials sent a mobile morgue to help identify the dead

HAWAII-WILDFIRES/ A general view shows damage in the fire ravaged town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii, U.S., August 15, 2023 | Reuters

The death toll in the deadly Maui wildfires has reached 106. The fires that occurred in the state of Hawaii in the US, incinerated the historic city of Lahaina about a week ago. Federal officials sent a mobile morgue with coroners, pathologists and technicians to Hawaii to help identify the dead, AP reported. 

Hawaii's Governor Josh Green, on Tuesday, said that identifying those killed in the wildfires will be “very difficult”. Families of victims have been asked to provide DNA swabs to help the process as a genetics team will help identify the deceased. 

Rescue workers and cadaver dogs continue to comb through the remains of homes and businesses destroyed by the deadliest US wildfire in over a century. Identification would be difficult as the remains are barely recognisable and fingerprints are seldom being found.

Residents are still struggling with intermittent power and unreliable cellphone service. A single prop airplane flew low off-coast blaring information about where to get water and supplies into a loudspeaker. According to authorities, the number of people that remain unaccounted for remains unclear. 

Governor Green has said that about 27 per cent of the search area has been combed by rescuers and searchers. Insured property losses have been recorded at an estimated $3.2 billion. Toxic by-products of the fire including poisonous fumes are also a cause for worry. 

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he and first lady Jill Biden would visit Hawaii “as soon as we can,” adding that he doesn’t want his presence to interrupt recovery and clean-up efforts. Biden also said that “every asset they need will be there for them” for ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts. Biden also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized one-time payments of up to $700 per household for residents who have been displaced. 

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