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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Number of missing people after Maui wildfires drops to 66, Hawaii governor says

One month after the deadly wildfires that destroyed the historic town of Lahaina and other areas in Maui, the number of missing people has dropped to 66, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said in a news statement on Friday.

The revised number of people missing was a startling drop from the list released last week in which 385 people were still listed as missing. Missing tallies have fluctuated drastically since the deadly August blaze; the initial number was over 3,000, then 385, and now, based on calls and emails the FBI has received, is 66.

In many cases the only information officials have is the person’s name, Green said, and the Maui Police Department “encourages families to share information about any missing loved ones.”

Last Friday, when the longer list was released, the governor said in a statement that the “exact numbers are going to take time, perhaps a long time, to become finalized.”

There are 115 confirmed fatalities, Green said. The cause of the fire has not been officially determined and investigators are looking intoHawaiian Electric, the state’s primary power company. Maui County is suing the power companyover the fires, claiming the utility negligently failed to shut off power despite high winds and dry conditions.

Green said that since Aug. 16 agencies have relocated 7,500 displaced survivors from shelters to a total of 29 hotels and hundreds of Airbnbs.

He also said his administration had made the “difficult decision” to open West Maui to travel and visitors again, beginning Oct. 8, with the goal “to bring hope for recovery.”

Emily Mae Czachor and the Associated Press contributed reporting.

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