It’s hard to describe the emotions we feel today as we watch the Maui fires that have devastated Lahaina especially and other parts of Maui and the Big Island. All of Hawaii feels closely connected, especially today. When a tragedy comes to one island, it is felt deeply by everyone. There is no emotional separation between us as specks in the middle of a vast ocean.
We mourn the loss of so many lives, the countless people and animals who are suffering, and the emotional heartbreak of losing loved ones, homes and businesses. Maui will recover just like Kauai did after Hurricane Iniki. But it will not be easy, and the people of Maui will need our support just as Kauai did then.
To help victims, the County of Maui recommends these organizations:
Hawaiʻi Community Foundation started a Maui Strong Fund to support residents affected by the wildfires. Donations can be made at www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong.
Maui United Way is accepting donations to its Maui Fire and Disaster Relief fund at https://mauiunitedway.org/disasterrelief.
Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
It has always played a prominent role in the history of our islands. Between 1820 to 1845, this was the center of the Kingdom. But even before that, it was the royal capital of the High Chief (Ali’i Nui) and, 1500 years ago, where Polynesian settlers arrived in dugout canoes. In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry, with up to 400 ships anchored in its harbor. This is also where the first missionaries from New England arrived.
Lahaina’s historic Front Street was ranked one of the top 10 greatest streets.
That accolade was by the American Planning Association. Some of its structures date back to the 1800s and were declared a National Historic Landmark District. You can see a map of Lahaina Town and the destroyed area today.
We won’t attempt to cover the news from Maui.
That is already being done, and it is big. A federal emergency proclamation is in process. To see updates, you can search on Facebook and other social media too.
Fire concerns statewide should abate later today.
Yesterday winds whipped through the islands, and on Kauai, we had very unusual dry gusts of perhaps 60 miles per hour as Hurricane Dora passed south of the island chain. It wreaked havoc with Maui and also Big Island.
Hawaii infrastructure is woefully inadequate to deal with such devastation.
The Maui Memorial Hospital, the island’s only acute care hospital, needed to be in better shape and prepared to manage a catastrophe of this magnitude. They have been unable to keep up with everyday healthcare demands on that island. Patients today are being medevacked to Honolulu.
Let us know how the Maui fires have impacted you firsthand or from a distance.
Photo credit Maui Fire Department of boat on fire in Maalaea Harbor Maui.