It has been more than three weeks since Maui was ravaged by deadly wildfires.
As authorities have checked lists of people unaccounted for from the fires, the names of the dead have been slow to emerge. Maui County has publicly identified 50 people after notifying their families.
Confirmed deaths: 115
The deadly blaze in Lahaina started as brush fires and exploded into the town on Aug. 8, becoming the country’s deadliest wildfire in more than 100 years.
Locating remains and identifying victims has been a difficult process. Experts in examining human remains were dispatched to Maui to help the local authorities.
Unaccounted for: hundreds of people
People who are unaccounted for are not necessarily dead. In past deadly wildfires across the United States, the number of people who were initially unaccounted for has vastly outnumbered the final death toll.
The search is complete.
The burn zone is large, and the search for remains has been slow and painstaking. But this week, officials said that 100 percent of the search of the burn area had been completed.
In the burn zone, emergency responders, with help from anthropologists and cadaver dogs, have sifted through a wasteland of ash and debris to find human remains. The process has also involved identifying the remains using fingerprints or DNA samples, and locating the victims’ families to deliver the news.
Neighbors have pitched in with recovery efforts.
In Lahaina, once the royal capital of Hawaii, more than 2,200 structures were damaged, most of which were residential. More than 2,000 acres burned, according to the Pacific Disaster Center, a research center managed by the University of Hawaii.
Just outside the center of damage, buildings remained intact but electricity, water and internet service were knocked out. Residents and evacuees in the area were left to rely heavily on help from people on other parts of the island, who ferried whatever supplies they could on cars, trucks and boats.
Full Story: New York Times September 1, 2023