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Number of unaccounted people after Maui wildfires may drop to under 50, Hawaii’s governor says

CNN — The number of people unaccounted for following the deadly fires in Maui may drop below 50, with a formal announcement to be made Friday, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

While last week authorities announced that 388 people were unaccounted for, Green said that authorities have since made “great deal of progress,” in locating people. The death toll from the fires remains at 115.

“The formal announcement will be tomorrow from the FBI and the group that’s working on this,” Green said in an interview Thursday.

“I think we’re going to hear a number in the lower double digits tomorrow, hopefully under 50,” Green said. “And it’s not much consolation because our hearts are broken that we lost 115 people for sure, but it is something that we are grateful that it is not 800 or 1,000 like people were projecting earlier. But tomorrow we should have a much tighter number for everyone.”

Green has asked the attorney general to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the August 8 fires, as island authorities faced mounting scrutiny over whether more action could have been taken to warn residents as the flames wreaked havoc, devastating Lahaina.

Maui Mayor Richard T. Bissen said in a statement Thursday he’s trying to clear up what happened in the early days of the wildfires when even top officials were caught off guard by the severity of the quickly escalating situation.

“The early hours of a disaster unfolded with our emergency responders facing conditions that were made extraordinarily difficult, with high wind, falling debris, including utility poles, and a rapidly advancing wildfire,” Bissen said. “The severe gravity of the impact was not clear in the initial hours, as our firefighters and police on the ground placed all of their efforts and actions towards helping people in the areas.”

“As the evening of the first day came, the horrific effects of the wildfire in Lahaina became apparent,” Bissen said.

The mayor said he first learned the morning of August 9 that people had died.

“The realization that we had lost lives was devastating,” he said.


Source: CNN September 1, 2023

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