OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:13 PM – Monday, August 21, 2023
Hawaiian officials say that 850 individuals are still missing following the catastrophic Lahaina fires, according to data obtained by the FBI and local police as of Monday morning.
Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen stated in a social media video that 114 people have been confirmed dead, 27 have been identified, and at least 11 families have been contacted.
Although more than 800 are still missing, the number had initially been estimated at well over 1,500.
“To the tireless work of the FBI and the Maui Police Department, 1,285 individuals have been located safe,” Bissen said. “We are both saddened and relieved about these numbers as we continue the recovery process.”
Bissen stated that these figures will fluctuate on a daily basis, and he requested that anyone who has close family members who are missing as a result of the fires to send DNA samples in order to assist in the identification process.
Locals can offer such samples at a Family Assistance Center set up at the Hyatt Regency Ka’anapali on Nohea Kai Drive.
The Maui County Mayor is scheduled to hold a press conference on Tuesday to answer questions from the public.
“Our lives have changed forever, and things will not be the same,” he said. “What will be the same is the way we care for each other as we grieve and go through this together.”
The fast-moving flames devastated Maui this month, with the ancient town of Lahaina bearing the brunt of the damage. The town was entirely destroyed with over 2,700 structures demolished.
Some locals and visitors even ran into the ocean to escape the fiery hellscape, while others attempted to flee on foot or by vehicle.
Bissen was also questioned by reporters about how many children are currently missing due to the disaster, but he failed to find a response or reason for why Hawaiian officials did not have an estimate.
President Joe Biden is reportedly scheduled to visit Hawaii on Monday to assess the devastation and meet with survivors.
His administration has been chastised by a number of officials and local Hawaiians for choosing to vacation with family rather than respond to the crisis in a quick manner.
This is a developing story.
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