Maui death toll approaches 100

The death toll from the catastrophic wildfire on the Hawaiian island of Maui reached 96 people as of Sunday night, making it the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century. 

Maui County officials said search and rescue missions are underway, and the death toll is expected to rise.

“I will tell you this, as a physician, it is a harrowing sight in Maui,” Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) said in a video message Sunday. “When those providers, the police and this division, do come across scenes in houses or businesses, it is very difficult for them because they know, ultimately, they will be sharing with our people that there have been more fatalities. I do expect the numbers to rise.”

Green also said that more than 2,700 structures had been destroyed in Lahaina town and “an estimated value of $5.6 billion has gone away.”

The Lahaina wildfire damaged or destroyed an estimated 2,207 structures and burned 2,170 acres, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Pacific Disaster Center, which estimated the cost to rebuild at $5.52 billion. The Kula wildfire on Maui, meanwhile, burned 678 acres. The cost to rebuild is estimated at $434 million.

Green pledged the “full force of government” to respond to the devastation. More than 250 FEMA staff members are deployed to assist residents in Hawaii, including in Maui, FEMA said Sunday, adding that agency Administrator Deanne Criswell surveyed the damage Sunday. 

A federal urban search and rescue team is also working to locate victims of the fire.

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