Residents of Lahaina cope with loss and destruction as the arduous search for victims goes on

The Maui wildfires have reached 110 deaths, with the death toll expected to rise significantly. The fire destroyed an estimated 80% of the historic town of Lahaina, leaving many desperate residents searching for missing family members. FEMA spokesperson Adam Weintraub said that the number of people unaccounted for is estimated to be between 1,100 and 1,300. People across the Hawaiian island have been asked to provide DNA samples in an effort to identify human remains. Only two of the victims have so far been publicly identified, 79-year-old Buddy Jantoc and 74-year-old Robert Dyckman. Dozens of FEMA search and rescue teams with 40 cadaver dogs continue to methodically comb for human remains, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said in a news briefing Wednesday afternoon. At least 38% of the Lahaina fire burn area had been searched.

Lahaina Bypass Road, the main thoroughfare in and out of Lahaina, was reopened Tuesday night for the first time since the wildfires broke out last week, making it easier for residents and emergency responders to access the city. However, Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier asked residents to exercise caution amid the ongoing search for human remains, warning of health concerns over ash, debris, and toxic air. "There is a difference between need and want," Pelletier said.

Michael Richter has been on a dayslong search to find his stepfather, Michael Richter, who has been on a dayslong search to find his stepfather. Joe Schilling was going to his friend Corie Bluh's home when the fires began raging around him. He was texting me that now there are four houses burning, and then cars exploding on the road." Blue believes Schilling may have died in the fire trying to help others evacuate, but his remains have not been found.

The Tone and Takafua family found four family members — including a 7-year-old girl — inside a burned-out car. Some who have been reported missing have been found. Weintraub said that about 60 people sheltering on a single property during the fire who survived had initially been listed as unaccounted for.

The Lahaina fire has destroyed or damaged at least 2,200 structures, about 86% of which were residential, according to numbers released over the weekend from the University of Hawaii's Pacific Disaster Center. The exact cause of the wildfires is still unknown. The Hawaii attorney general's office has launched an investigation into the local government response leading up to and after they broke out on Aug. 8. CBS News has learned that Herman Andaya, chief of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, had no background in disaster response. Local news site Maui Now reported in 2017 that he was hired over 40 other qualified applicants. Survivors said most residents were not evacuated, and many waited days for help to arrive. None of the island's warning sirens sounded for evacuation.

FEMA now has about 600 personnel on the island to aid in search and recovery efforts. FEMA has approved more than $2.3 million in assistance to more than 1,300 households. Approximately 2,000 homes and businesses in Lahaina remain without power, and approximately 1,000 hotel rooms have now been made available for displaced residents. The state also set up an Airbnb program with 1,000 available rooms or houses that will be covered by FEMA for use by both evacuees and first responders.


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