Survivors’ lives in turmoil as they mourn dead

Malia Waring’s house wasn’t destroyed when the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century ripped through Maui last week. But her family is gone and she can’t bear to sit at home thinking about them. Ever since her cousin came to tell her that four members of their family, including her 8-year-old nephew, burned to death in their car while trying to escape the blaze, Waring, 65, has been spending time with friends at Napili Park, which has become one of several crowd-sourced aid depots in the beloved, nearly destroyed area of Lahaina.

Survivors’ lives in turmoil as they mourn dead

“I’m very, very emotional if I talk, I don’t know, I will cry,” she said Sunday.

Waring is one of many locals grappling with widespread loss. And as the community works to provide for people’s immediate physical needs, mental health professionals are preparing to meet the longer-term needs of a community that has barely had time to comprehend and grieve the loss of their loved ones, homes, businesses, and centuries-old cultural sites. Read more here.

‘No time to grieve’:Maui death count could skyrocket, leaving many survivors traumatized

Fires hit home for ‘The Rock’

Survivors’ lives in turmoil as they mourn dead

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who is of Samoan descent and lived in Hawaii for a part of his childhood, is “completely heartbroken” as the Maui wildfires continue to rage. Johnson said in a video posted on Instagram that he is in contact with relief organizations in Maui such as The Hawaii Community Foundation on the best ways to help.

“I know that, by now, all of you around the world have seen the destruction and devastation that has hit our Hawaiian islands — our island of Maui — and I’m completely heartbroken over this and I know all of you are too,” Johnson said in a video posted on Instagram Sunday. Read more here.

The lawsuit claims power companies caused wildfires

Authorities have not determined the cause of the Lahaina fire, but a class-action lawsuit on behalf of victims and survivors blames Hawaiian Electric. The suit filed by LippSmith LLP and other law firms claims that downed power lines owned by Maui Electric, Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light and their parent company, Hawaiian Electric Industries caused the fire. The lawsuit, obtained by USA TODAY, also claims the utility companies “inexcusably kept their power lines energized during forecasted high fire danger conditions” ultimately causing “loss of life, serious injuries, destruction of hundreds of homes and businesses, displacement of thousands of people, and damage to many of Hawai‘i’s historic and cultural sites.”

Survivors’ lives in turmoil as they mourn dead

Hawaiian Electric spokesman Jim Kelly stressed in an email that no cause had been determined and that the company will cooperate with authorities investigating the blaze.

“Our immediate focus is on supporting emergency response efforts on Maui and restoring power for our customers and communities as quickly as possible,” Kelly said.

Some fire hydrants reportedly ran dry as the blaze grew

Some firefighters battling to halt the spread of the Lahaina fire found fire hydrants began to run dry, the New York Times reported. As the fire grew, water pressure faded and some hydrants became “largely useless,” the Times reported.

“There was just no water in the hydrants,” firefighter Keahi Ho told the Times.

The Maui Department of Water Supply did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY. John Stufflebean, head of the agency, warned people in Lahaina not to drink water even after boiling it until further notice because hundreds of pipes have been damaged by the wildfires.

Firefighters also struggled with high winds, fueled by Hurricane Dora spinning offshore, that spread the fire quickly and limited aerial assaults on the blaze.

Donations needed after Maui fire

Kako‘o Maui Match Donation Fund: Last week the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement helped start the fund and quickly reached its $1.5 million goal. Donations are still being accepted and the council said 100% of proceeds will go toward relief efforts. Information on how to donate can be found here.

Hoʻōla Maui Fund: Contributions to this fund will support Maui youth impacted by the disasters so they can continue to benefit from a strong educational support system. Donations can be made here.

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