Maui flames left 850 people unaccounted for, according to the mayor
Since the Maui wildfires caused havoc, reduced the tourist city of Lahaina to ashes, and claimed more than 114 lives, 850 people are still missing.
Maul County Mayor Richard Bissen informed the media on Monday (Aug. 21) in advance of President Joe Biden’s arrival that a list of missing people was compiled with the assistance of the FBI and local officials in the two weeks following the fire. The list initially comprised more than 2,000 names.
More than 1,285 people have been found safe thanks to the persistent efforts of the FBI and the Maui Police Department, he claimed. “As we move forward with the healing process, we are both saddened and relieved about these numbers.”
Only 27 of the 114 dead have been identified, according to Bissen, and 11 relatives have been informed.
He predicted that as family members are added to and removed from the lists, “the number of identified will rise and the number of missing may decrease, but there will be daily fluctuations in the numbers.”
“Saddened and relieved” by these statistics
He said that he was “both saddened and relieved about these numbers” and pleaded with people whose loved ones were still unaccounted for to give a DNA sample to help with the recovery investigation.
To identify the human remains, local officials have been utilizing DNA testing.
According to Julie French of the Rapid DNA business ANDE, whose technology is being used to help identify victims, “the more family members that we can get, the better comparisons we can do and the faster we can do them,” she said in a video posted on social media by Maui’s government.
On Monday, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are scheduled to travel to Lahania town to speak with survivors and emergency personnel.
Despite criticism, Biden will visit
Joe Biden promised to “do everything in my power to help Maui recover and rebuild from this tragedy” while also honoring the region’s sacred lands, cultures, and customs in a statement released on Sunday (Aug. 20).
Republicans have been heavily criticizing Biden, saying he hasn’t done enough to confront the destruction.
Additionally, local officials have come under fire. Following criticism for not turning on its alarm system after the incident, Maui’s emergency management director resigned last week.