Number of missing people during the forest fire in Hawaii could drop to less than 100

Number of missing people during the forest fire in Hawaii could drop to less than 100

The number of people reported missing in the devastating Forest fire of Maui could be reduced from almost 400 to less than 100 when authorities provide an update on Friday about their efforts to locate them, the governor of hawaiiJosh Green.

“We think the number is down to double digits, so thank God,” said Thursday in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Authorities have said at least 115 people died in the fire, which swept through Lahaina in a matter of hours on Aug. 8 and became the deadliest wildfire in USA in a century. However, at first the whereabouts of more than 1,000 people were unknown, who were reported missing by family, friends or acquaintances.

Authorities narrowed the list to 388 names considered missing, but even that list included the names of many people who were alive or known to have died. Once the names were published, more than 200 people quickly provided information about who was included on the list.

For his part, Green told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that his government has opened several investigations into people who have allegedly made unsolicited offers on properties in the fire-hit city of Lahaina in violation of a new emergency order.

Green banned such deals by signing an emergency enactment on Aug. 19 aimed at preventing land in the historic coastal community from going into the hands of outside buyers. The order is intended to give residents some “breather” while they decide what to do next, Green said.

Even before the fire, Lahaina was a rapidly gentrifying city, and concerns have since spread that Native Hawaiians and native-born residents who have owned property for generations feel pressured to sell.

The fear is that they will leave Lahaina, Maui or the state, taking their culture and traditions, thus contributing to the continued exodus of Hawaiians to less expensive places to live.

“We have seen it in many places in our country and our world, where people have lost everything except their land and someone pounces on them and buys them for a few cents,” Green said. “We want to keep these lands in the hands of local people, and we want to give them at least the opportunity to decide if they want to build again.”

The fire destroyed between 1,800 and 1,900 homes. Many of those who worked in hotels and restaurants in nearby Kaanapali and Lahaina itself lived in this town of 12,000 inhabitants.

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