Hawaii Wildfire Toll Touches 93; Number May Rise, Warn Officials

Hawaii: With at least 93 people dead in a wildfire in Hawaii, anger is brewing over the official response to the inferno said to be the deadliest one in the United States in a 100-year span, news agency AFP reported.

Officials have warned the number of deaths due to the Hawaii wildfire could rise, news agency Associated Press reported. Search teams with cadaver dogs searched through the charred ruins of Lahaina looking for more victims. As per the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the cost to rebuild the historic resort town was estimated at $5.5 billion. The fast-moving flames consumed more than 1,000 buildings and levelled almost the entire town, reported news agency Reuters.

Some residents questioned whether more could have been done in order to warn people prior to the fire engulfing their homes. Following this, officials vowed to examine the state’s emergency notification system. According to Reuters, the sirens that were stationed around the islands to warn of impending natural disasters never sounded and rather, the widespread power and cellular outages hampered other forms of alerts as well.

State’s attorney general, Anne Lopez, said that she was going to launch a review of the decision-making both before and during the fire. Governor Josh Green on the other hand told CNN that he had authorised a review of the emergency response.

Local officials also talked about the difficulties that they faced in coordinating with the emergency management agencies in real-time.

Such a high toll in the wildfire incidents that began on Tuesday has made this Hawaii’s worst natural disaster in history. The current destruction surpassed the previous ‘worst natural disaster’ in Hawaii’s history which was a Tsunami that claimed the lives of 61 people in 1960. The Tsunami incident came just a year after Hawaii became a US state.

Sunil Kumar Dhangadamajhi

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