Maui live updates: Emergency chief quits over failed wildfire sirens as only 10 of 111 victims identified

Wildfire rages through Hawaii’s historic Lahaina

The head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency surprisingly resigned Thursday as officials’ response to the devastating wildfires comes under increasing scrutiny.

Herman Andaya’s resignation comes a day after he defended his decision not to deploy outdoor alarm sirens during the wildfires that have ravaged the historic coastal community of Lahaina and have so far killed at least 111 people.

Mr Andaya gave unspecified health reasons, and no further details were given in his letter.

“Given the severity of the crisis we are facing, my team and I will recruit someone into this key position as soon as possible,” Mayor Richard Bissen said in the statement.

Meanwhile, the search for victims remains painfully slow. Only 10 of the 111 victims who have died in the fires so far have been identified.

Local residents also report that investors and real estate agents are trying to take advantage of the wildfires to buy land from locals. “We will not allow it,” Gov. Josh Green said.

The governor of Hawaii said he expects Maui’s burned area to cost $5 billion or more to rebuild. Maui has already received federal, state and local aid.


WATCH: Maui official explains why no sirens went off ahead of Hawaii wildfires

Maui official explains why no sirens went off before Hawaii wildfires

Rachel SharpAug 18, 2023 9:50 am


A Brief History of Natural Disasters in Hawaii

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 9:30 am


Tourist faces criticism for vacation posting in Hawaii during Maui wildfire crisis

With the death toll from the Hawaii wildfires reaching at least 111, a woman decided to showcase her vacation on the island in a now private video on TikTok.

In the video, user Yvette Mares shared footage from her Hawaiian vacation while a happy song called “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” played in the background, according to the Daily point.

The title markedly contrasted with the somber tone currently associated with the state of Hawaii, as Gov. Josh Green recently announced the death toll could continue to rise by 10 to 20 people a day, while officials continue to search for survivors and casualties seek.

Since the video was published, Mares has received backlash online for her lack of attention and poor timing of the TikTok post. Although their account is now private, that hasn’t stopped others from making sure the video doesn’t go unnoticed.

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 09:00


Filipino among Hawaii wildfire victims

According to Philippine media, a Filipino national is believed to be one of the 111 victims of the devastating Hawaii wildfires.

According to ABS-CBN news, the Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday that one of the victims of the wildfires was a person from the Southeast Asian country.

The person’s name was not released and so far authorities have only been able to identify a handful of victims.

The DFA said the Filipino is a naturalized U.S. citizen hailing from Ilocos

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 8:30 am


‘He was trying to do his job’: Former mayor defends Maui boss after resignation

Former Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa has defended emergency chief Herman Andaya after he resigned from office over criticism of wildfire response.

Mr. Andaya, who tendered his resignation Thursday citing health conditions, was previously the deputy director of Maui County’s Department of Housing and Human Affairs and was former Mr. Arakawa’s chief of staff for 11 years.

The former mayor said he was disappointed with the resignation “because we now lack a really qualified person.”

He said Mr. Andaya was screened for the post by the county’s human resources service.

“He was trying to be strong and do his job,” Mr Arakawa said of the wildfire response.

“He was very, very heartbroken about all the things that happened.”

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 08:00


How Hawaiians band together to help victims as relief workers make the long journey to the fire-ravaged island

Volunteers on Maui have cobbled together countless impromptu, urgent solutions like insulin shipments in response to the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century, which has killed more than 100 people and displaced thousands.

As nonprofit groups struggle to provide aid to the second-farthest state from the US mainland, learn how mutual charities and local businesses are helping to fill the gaps.

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 7:40 am


How officials identify charred bodies after Maui fires

As loved ones yearn for information on those missing on Maui after the deadliest wildfire in the United States in more than a century, authorities are struggling to identify the remains of more than 100 victims.

The advent of DNA technology and the advances that have followed have created powerful tools. But it still takes time to find remains, uncover genetic material or other clues, and gather the information needed for a match–if there is any certainty at all.

Here’s a look at how the work of identification goes:

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 7:21 am


Full article: Maui Wildfire Official Quits After Defending Decision Not to Sound Fire Warning Sirens

Maui’s chief emergency services officer has suddenly resigned amid increasing scrutiny of local authorities over their response to the devastating wildfires that have so far killed at least 111 people on the Hawaiian island.

Herman Andaya, the chief of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, sent his letter of resignation to Mayor Richard Bissen on Thursday, which was immediately accepted, Maui County confirmed in a statement.

Here’s what he said about his decisions in response to the wildfires and everything that led to his resignation:

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 07:00


Search for missing moves beyond Lahaina

The arduous search for human remains in a burned-out ash and debris area in Lahaina has covered at least 45 percent of the homes, Gov. Josh Green said Thursday.

Authorities say the search for the missing has expanded beyond Lahaina to other devastated communities.

However, it will probably continue like this for at least a week.

The FBI’s Honolulu Division said it is helping the Maui police locate and identify missing persons. Immediate family members who are on Maui can drop off DNA samples at the Hyatt Recency in Kaanapali starting Friday, and those who are elsewhere can contact the FBI for instructions.

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 6:45 am


Maui’s power agency responds to criticism

The Hawaii Department of Energy has responded to criticism for leaving power lines on despite strong winds.

A video showed a cable dangling in a charred patch of grass surrounded by flames in the early moments, prompting speculation that a broken wire could be a possible cause of the barrel fire.

“The facts of this event will continue to evolve,” Hawaiian Electric CEO Shelee Kimura wrote in an email to utility customers Thursday, according to the AP.

“And while we won’t have the answers for some time, we are committed to working with many others to find out what happened while we remain urgently focused on Maui’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.”

Stuti MishraAug 18, 2023 6:20 am

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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