Biden Won’t Visit Maui, Don’t Want To Distract
Hawaii Governor Josh Green has "cautioned that the death toll will rise significantly" as a result of the catastrophic and still-burning wildfires on the island of Maui, and now President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have decided not to visit the area due to their fears that their presence could distract from relief efforts.
Biden declared the fires a major disaster on Thursday, and the federal government has released food and water to support 5,000 people for five days. But due to power, internet, and communication outages, rescue and relief efforts have been greatly impacted.
Governor Green told reporters on Thursday, "I don't think words can do justice to what has befallen our beloved island and its residents. Everywhere you look there is devastation."
Unfortunately, the death toll has now risen to 67, making it the deadliest wildfire on US soil since the 2018 Camp Fire in California. The wildfires have destroyed at least 2,000 acres of land, including 80 percent of the Maui town Lahaina, a rich cultural area that was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
The president and vice president have decided not to visit the area in order to fully focus on the rescue and relief efforts. On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters before boarding Air Force Two for Chicago, “We don’t want to distract from the resources that need to go in to the victims of this tragedy, and of course, the needs of the first responders have to be able to focus on that issue and not worry about focusing on us [because] we’re there.”
She added that she and Biden are “deeply concerned” about the wildfires.
Now, the local government and first responders are left to desperately try to contain the fires and provide aid to the victims. Lauren Henrie, a communications consultant for Maui Rescue Mission, said, “We as a local nonprofit are not able to even access anything west of Maalaea. West Maui is completely cut off from communication and power. We are looking at years, years of recovery here.”
The people of Maui and Hawaii are in dire need of assistance, and President Biden and Vice President Harris also called upon all Americans to assist those in need if possible. The people of Maui and Hawaii won't be left to suffer alone.