Sixty survivors found alive sheltering in Maui home as search...
Sixty survivors found alive sheltering in Maui home as search enters ninth day

Sixty survivors found alive sheltering in Maui home as search enters ninth day

Sixty survivors of the Maui wildfires have been rescued from a single home that had been cut off since wildfires swept through the Hawaiian island, officials say. The large group had sheltered in an isolated residence in western Maui that had been without electricity and cell phone coverage since 8 August, Maui County mayor Richard Bisset said. Mr Bisset revealed details of the extraordinary rescue as the death toll from the deadly wildfires rose to 106. “We discovered yesterday that there was a family that was housing 60 people at a home on the west side, and many of those folks were unaccounted for, and they’ve now been reunited with their families,” Mr Bisset said. The group were without phones, power and internet, according to Maui police chief John Pelletier. No further details were immediately available about the survivors’ conditions or where they were found. As the painstaking search and rescue efforts continue, officials estimate that 1,300 Maui residents remain unaccounted for. Hawaii governor Josh Green said just 35 per cent of burned out areas had been searched, and he expects the death toll to rise in the coming days. Hundreds of specialist Federal Emergency Management Agency officers have arrived on the island, along with at least 40 cadaver dogs, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said at a White House briefing on Wednesday. Only five of the victims had been identified by Tuesday afternoon, and a mobile morgue unit with 30 coroners has arrived in Hawaii to help sift through remains, Ms Criswell said. “We’re working carefully to search the affected areas thoroughly and compassionately while respecting all of the cultural sensitivities.” Maui was facing a “very long and hard recovery”, she added. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) had paid out $2.3m to displaced households, but only 1,300 families had signed up for the payments, Ms Criswell said. Assistance was available for emergency payments for house repairs, cars and appliances, and Ms Criswell urged anyone impacted by the wildfires to sign up at Fema’s website or by calling 1-800- 621-3362. Salote Takafua, her son Tony Takafua and parents Faaso and Malui Fonua Tone, were among the first victims from the fires identified earlier this week. Their bodies were found in a burned out car near their home in Lahaina, family said. The body of Franklin “Frankie” Trejos, 68, was found in a car outside the home of friends he had been staying with for years in Lahaina. He appeared to have been trying to shield the family’s three-year-old golden retriever Sam. President Joe Biden plans to travel to Maui with First Lady Jill Biden on 21 August to inspect the affected areas and victims and officials involved in the recovery operation.

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