MAYOR BISSEN ANNOUNCES PHASED APPROACH TO RE-OPENING WEST MAUI TO VISITORS
Mayor Richard Bissen and members of his Lahaina Advisory Team have shaped a phased approach to the re-opening of West Maui to visitors following an announcement by Gov. Josh Green that West Maui will re-open on October 8. The developed phases will provide for residents to return to work, establish needed childcare, settle children into the temporary Department of Education elementary and intermediate schools and Lahainaluna High School, and provide for a more deliberate process to help with housing needs for the thousands in temporary shelter at many hotel properties. The phased approach calls for a staggered focus on the return of visitors to the westside hotel properties and the area.
RE-ENTRY INTO LAHAINA DISASTER AREAS UPDATE
The first zone cleared for owners and residents to re-enter in the County of Maui Disaster Area was Kaniau Road in Zone 1C. Disaster Area restrictions for Zone 1C was lifted for owners and residents with vehicle passes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. September 25 and September 26. The zone is now open for local traffic only.
Information, including a map showing the zones, is available at www.MauiRecovers.org.
Launiupoko Beach Park reopened on Saturday, September 23, ahead of schedule, after the county Department of Parks and Recreation worked to ensure the park was cleared after the Aug. 8 fire and wind caused downed trees and other damage that riddled the park with debris. Eight staff in the Parks Department lost their homes to fire Aug. 8 but worked to ensure the beach park could reopen at 10 a.m. Saturday so families could enjoy it over the weekend.
As of 10 a.m. September 13, County of Maui Disaster Area Restrictions were lifted for two business zones – Zone 5B, the Lahaina Cannery Mall parcel; and Zone 5E, the business area of Kupuohi and Ulupono streets. All roadways to access those zones are clear. The Hawaiʻi Department of Healthʻs Smoke and Dust Advisory remains in effect for portions of Maui impacted by fire and surrounding areas with smoke, ash and dust. For air quality information, visit https://health.hawaii.gov/mauiwildfires/. County of Maui Department of Water Supply Unsafe Water Advisory remains in effect. For information, go to https://www.mauirecovers.org/recovery/maps-data.
At this time, there is no list allowing residents to return to the disaster area in Lahaina. Currently, the disaster area is restricted to authorized personnel only. When a fire burns through an area, many dangers remain. For those who can return to their properties, state Department of Health officials urge all individuals to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). For more PPE recommendations, please visitbit.ly/WestMauiCaution.
The Maui Fire Department (MFD) advises the public that extinguishing the Upcountry fires may take an extended period of time given the large burn area and the nature of the rural terrain. Although containment percentages have not changed over recent days, MFD continues to reassure the public there are no active threats among the three ongoing fires.
MAUI RECOVERS WEBSITE
An official County of Maui website, www.MauiRecovers.org, is providing vital information and assistance, including re-entry data, to those affected by the fires. The website includes:
UNSAFE WATER ADVISORY
An UNSAFE WATER ADVISORY (UWA) remains in effect for portions of Upper Kula, the County of Maui Department of Water Supply wishes to remind customers and the general public.
Customers within the area covered by the UWA Advisory should not drink their tap water. Boiling or treating the water will not make it safe. Use only bottled water or water from portable tankers, transported in sterilized containers, for your drinking and cooking needs. Warm tap water may be used for bathing and hand-washing. Do not use hot water. Customers are advised to open their windows when using tap water to ventilate possible contaminants.
To determine if your home, business, or farm is covered by the Unsafe Water Advisory, please refer to an interactive map available at Zone Map. The map will be updated as results from multiple rounds of water quality testing are received and more areas are deemed safe. The interactive map is divided into five (5) zones for Upper Kula. Zones 2 through Zone 5 remain under the UWA.
Zone 1 is now in green. If your address is in the green area, the Unsafe Water Advisory no longer applies. Before drinking the tap water, the Department of Water Supply recommends Zone 1 customers flush their pipes. Flushing involves turning on faucets, showers, and outside spigots for at least 10 minutes to remove any residual standing water and replace it with fresh water. Once flushing has been completed, customers may notice cloudy water, which is due to air trapped in the pipes. This condition is temporary, and air will be released as the water is used.
For safe, potable water, please bring large, sterilized water containers to:
The Hawai`i Department of Health reported Friday,September 15, that results from preliminary air sampling and air monitoring conducted in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui do not show evidence of poor air quality or any hazardous levels of contaminants in the air when the samples were collected. “The preliminary data indicate that air quality around wildfire impacted areas in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui are free of hazardous levels of contaminants,” said State Health Director Dr. Kenneth S. Fink. “It’s critical to remember that air monitoring is indicative of the ambient air quality, and high winds or cleanup activities could cause dust and ash to become airborne. We continue to urge Maui residents to wear a high-quality mask, such as an N95 mask, and other personal protective equipment when in impacted areas. Precautions should also continue to be taken in nearby areas should the air quality change due to disturbed ash from an impacted area.”
FATALITY AND SEARCH UPDATE
Confirmed fatality numbers and identification information are included in the Maui Police Department’s daily press release, anticipated to be issued by 6 p.m. daily. For that information, please visit: bit.ly/MauiPoliceNews. The Maui Police Department reported Friday, September 15, that the revised number of fatalities is 97, a decrease from the 115 previously reported, with 99% of the Lahaina disaster area searched, according to officials. The new number was reached based on factors including obtaining DNA profiles during examination of remains.
We still need your help identifying individuals reported unaccounted for following the Lahaina wildfire disaster. The validated list of names is available at mauinuistrong.info/unaccountedfor. If you recognize a name on the list and know the person to be safe, or have additional information that may help locate them, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at (888) 814-7693 or go to www.fbi.gov/MauiFires.
Anyone wishing to report an individual who is still unaccounted for is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the following information:
Family members on Maui who wish to submit DNA for use in identifying someone who is unaccounted for are asked to contact the Family Assistance Center by calling (808) 270-7771 or sending an email to FAC@mauicounty.gov to schedule an appointment.
If you live on a neighbor island or the U.S. Mainland, are the immediate family member of a person missing as the result of the Maui wildfires, and you wish to provide a DNA sample to assist, please call the FBI Honolulu Division at (808) 566-4300 or email HN-COMMAND-POST@ic.fbi.gov.
DNA samples are only for identification of wildfire victims and survivors, and will not be stored or used for any other purpose.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REMOVAL
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been assigned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to survey, remove, and dispose of hazardous material from properties affected by the wildfires in Lahaina, Kula, and Olinda. Hazardous materials could include compressed gas cylinders, pesticides, fertilizers and ammunition, as well as lithium-ion batteries, and in particular solar battery storage on homes.
As of September 26, EPA has nine teams and has completed hazardous materials collection at 967 of the 1,598 parcels that need to be cleared across Maui.
EPA is storing in a secure manner all the hazardous material collected at a staging area at Ukumehame. After all of the 1,598 parcels have been cleared, EPA will ship the hazardous material collected off-island. Different types of material need to be shipped to various states because the landfills receiving the waste vary in terms of what they can accept.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION / DONATIONS
Food and supplies are distributed to West Maui residents at Kahana Gateway
Shopping Center, 4405 Honoapi`ilani Highway, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Feed My Sheep holds a drive-thru distribution from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays.
The old Kahului Safeway at 170 E. Kamehameha Ave. is open as a new location to accept donations of non-perishable food, water, and paper supplies only. Donations will be accepted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those impacted by the fires can also pick up supplies during those hours.
RESOURCE HUB: DONATION & VOLUNTEER INFORMATION
An online, centralized hub to respond to the impacts of the Maui Wildfire Disaster is available at mauinuistrong.info. The County of Maui’s “Maui Nui Strong” site offers information on how to donate, volunteer, offer services and locate support. Support information on the Maui Nui Strong site includes resources for Financial Assistance, Government Services, Medical Care, Mental Health Services and more.
The State of Hawaiʻi and Maui County have launched the Maui Disaster Support Call Center. The call center can be reached at (808) 727-1550 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and provides a central assistance hub for community members affected by the Maui wildfires.
COMMUNITY INFORMATION BOARDS
Information boards are now located at these locations:
RED CROSS ASSISTANCE
Red Cross enrollment for emergency housing and immediate financial assistance is closed. If your primary residence was destroyed or is uninhabitable due to the wildfires, contact the Red Cross at 800-Red Cross (800-733-2767) or RedCross.org to get answers to questions about assistance programs which may still be available.
Safe Harbor ends September 29. As part of Red Cross housing, there is a period referred to as Safe Harbor during which eligibility requirements for FEMA disaster assistance do not apply. For the Maui wildfires, Safe Harbor ends September 29. By that date, the Red Cross will gather eligibility data on survivors in our care to help them determine the next steps in their recovery.
Red Cross temporary housing is being provided at 40 locations around Maui. There were 7,765 people housed overnight Tuesday at these locations, which provide a temporary solution to give families and individuals a comfortable and safe place to stay near their communities while more permanent housing plans are developed. Survivors receive meals, mental health support, health services, reunification services, spiritual care, financial assistance and casework. As part of the recovery process, Red Cross caseworkers connect one-on-one with survivors to create recovery plans, navigate complex paperwork and locate help from other agencies. On Tuesday, 10,134 meals were served at various locations.
To register with FEMA for shelter or financial assistance, call 1 (800) 621-3362, visit disasterassistance.gov, or apply through the FEMA smartphone app. You can also get assistance in person. Disaster Recovery Centers operate daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at three locations -- the University of Hawai‘i Maui College (310 W. Ka‘ahumanu Ave., Community Services Building 205); Lahaina Civic Center gymnasium, 1840 Honoapiʻilani Highway; and Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, located at 91 Pukalani St., Pukalani.
Workers, business owners, and self-employed residents of Maui who became unemployed or had reduced work hours due to the wildfires may be eligible for disaster unemployment benefits from Aug. 13, 2023, to Feb. 10, 2024, if unemployment continues to be a direct result of the disaster. Regular unemployment insurance and disaster unemployment benefits cannot be paid at the same time. The deadline to apply is September 25. To apply, go to https://uiclaims.hawaii.gov. Those who are not able to file online can apply toll-free:(833) 901-2272; (833) 901-2275; (808) 762-5751 or (808) 762-5752.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Many people are experiencing strong emotions, anguish, and deep loss following the devastating Maui fires. Mental health support is available. Visit www.mauinuistrong.info for a comprehensive list of resources for individuals, families and helpers. In addition, the Red Cross Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24/7 for counseling and support: (800) 985-5990.
December 8, 2023
December 8, 2023