Home NewsAmerica Death toll approaches 100 as Hawaii counts costs of wildfires

Death toll approaches 100 as Hawaii counts costs of wildfires

by Zahid Jadwat

A wildfire burns in Kihei, Hawaii. [Picture: Sky News]


The death toll from wildfires that razed a popular tourist destination in Hawaii, United States has climbed to 93. Authorities and residents are counting the cost of devastation caused by the deadliest wildfires in modern US history.

Drought conditions, difficulties with water management and Hurricane Dora combined to fan the flames of the deadly wildfires in Lahaina, Hawaii, reported The Independent. Lahaina is a resort town in Maui County, home to approximately 13 000 residents.

“It will certainly be the worst natural disaster that Hawaii ever faced,” said governor Josh Green. He linked the tragedy to climate change, warning “that’s what a fire hurricane is going to look [like] in the era of global warming”.


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Narrow escapes from wildfires in Hawaii

Apocalyptic-like scenes circulating on social media showed residents seeking refuge in the ocean as the wildfires raged on land. Others took to social media to look for missing family members after narrowly escaping the wildfires.

“I was the last one off the dock when the firestorm came through the banyan tree and took everything with it. I just ran out to the beach and I ran south and I just helped everybody I could along the way,” a visibly shaken charter boat crew member Dustin Johnson told NBC News.

According to The Independent, communication blackouts caused by the fires left hundreds of people unaccounted for. At least 2 200 buildings were listed as damaged or destroyed in West Maui, of which 86 per cent were residential. The total damage from wildfires on the island is estimated at nearly $6bn (R114.4bn).

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