The island of Maui’s emergency services director has resigned amidst heavy criticism over a decision many say led to lives being lost in the wildfires. The director’s resignation comes after reports that warning sirens were not activated at the beginning of the fires.
This week at a news conference, Herman Andaya said he did not regret not sounding the sirens. He said they are mainly used to warn of tsunamis; trained residents then know to go to higher ground. Andaya said taking that route would have led them into danger. “If that was the case, then they would have gone into the fire,” he said.
However, Maui’s mayor, 24 hours later, said Andaya had resigned over health reasons. In a statement, Richard Bissen, Jr., said, “Given the gravity of the crisis we are facing, my team and I will be placing someone in this key position as quickly as possible.”
The cause of the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century is under investigation. The local power utility, Hawaiian Electric, faces lawsuits alleging the fires were started by strong winds from a passing hurricane knocking down energized power lines.
And the search is still on for about a thousand people who are missing.
“A lot of people that I used to do outreach that are now volunteering in the shelter so they will recognize someone there and send an updated list,” said Jelena Dackovic, an outreach volunteer.
Tragically, the death toll continues to rise on the island – now at least 111 people, as crews discover more remains. Gov. Josh Green says the search has covered 45 percent of the burn zone so far.
Please join us and CBN News tomorrow at 4 pm ET on YouTube for a special #prayer event for the people of #Maui in the wake of what is called the worst #disaster to hit the island. https://t.co/BxC4SdJlSs#OperationBlessing #HawaiiFires pic.twitter.com/fTUc3IYUI2
— Operation Blessing (@operationbless) August 18, 2023
The governor is addressing the state Friday night, updating residents on the search and recovery efforts, the status of the missing and the tough road before them in rebuilding.
Relief groups are in Maui, bringing aid to survivors with overwhelming needs. CBN’s Operation Blessing is among the organizations on the ground helping them by providing important supplies.
Operation Blessing learned about a group of people who needed clean water, so OB immediately took water filtration units from Air Mobile Ministries to them. The residents were extremely grateful, and they’re going to take the units directly to families in the hardest-hit areas of Lahaina.
“Just to have a machine like this, to know that everybody is drinking healthy water, is going to mean a lot to these families,” shared Maui resident Edward Iniba. “We’re so grateful for even having the opportunity for people like you to bless our families.”
CBN News Prayer Event for Maui
Watch the CBN Pray for Maui prayer event that took place Friday at 4:00 pm ET on the CBN News app and CBN News YouTube:
CBN News hosts Dan Andros and Tré Goins-Phillips spoke to CBN News Anchor Wendy Griffith and Operation Blessing’s Justin Jenkins. They discussed last week’s devastating wildfire and prayed for survivors who are experiencing a traumatic loss. CBN’s Operation Blessing is on the ground in Hawaii providing critical relief items to help survivors, who have lost everything. Support their disaster relief efforts HERE.
We also encourage you to also tell us that you’re standing with the people of Lahaina, Maui, by signing the CBN Prayer petition HERE at CBNPrays.com.