World

Number of people missing following Maui wildfires drops to 66

Charred remains of homes are visible following a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii (Jae C Hong/AP)
Charred remains of homes are visible following a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii (Jae C Hong/AP) Charred remains of homes are visible following a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii (Jae C Hong/AP)

One month after the deadliest wildfires in recent US history, Hawaiian governor Josh Green revealed the number of those still missing has dropped to 66.

The August 8 blaze ripped through the Maui town of Lahaina, decimating homes and businesses within hours, with dozens fleeing into the ocean to escape the fire.

A total of 66 people remain unaccounted for, while the death toll remains at 115.

The tally of those missing has dropped significantly in one week, with authorities saying only seven days ago there were still 385 people missing.

Hawaiian Fires
Hawaiian Fires Lahaina pictured nearly a month after the deadliest US wildfire in more than a century killed scores of people and razed homes and businesses (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Police in Maui have released the names of 55 of those who perished in the blaze.

Of those, 22 were in their 70s, with another 13 in their 60s.

One victim was listed under the age of 10.

With about half the deceased still unidentified, Mr Green said he expected there to be significant overlap between the names on the missing list and remains that have already been recovered.

Therefore, he said, he did not expect the death toll to rise considerably.

Mr Green said: “We’re starting to see that the universe of 115 fatalities is about where we are.

“There may be some additional fatalities as we go through the next month.”

Maui Police Department said on September 8 that, in addition to the 66 people listed by the FBI as unaccounted for, there are 80 additional names of potentially missing people that the agency is vetting for credibility.

In those cases, no information was provided for the reporting party or the reporting party was not available to provide further details.

For surviving residents, the Hawaiian governor revealed authorities will soon begin to escort those evacuated on visits to inspect what is left of their properties.

He also revealed that, as of October 8, travel restrictions will end and West Maui will reopen to visitors.

Mr Green said: “If we support Maui’s economy and keep our people employed, they will heal faster and continue to afford to live on Maui.”

As Lahaina begins to rebuild after the worst-seen wildfires on US soil in the last century, Mr Green added that tens of millions of dollars in aid will also make its way to Hawaiian families and businesses to help recover.

Residents will receive donations from around the globe courtesy of the American Red Cross, the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Maui United Way, and other charitable organisations.

Mr Green also revealed he has authorised 100 million dollars from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programme “to support what others donate, magnifying the power of their generosity”.