The Maui fires are on track to become one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Over 110 persons have been officially counted as dead. Some reports have put the number of missing at around a thousand. The fire departments are presently searching the destroyed buildings for survivors.
Americans back home are wondering what President Joe Biden is up to while search efforts continue in Hawaii.
Missing In Action
After the flames in Delaware broke out, Biden stayed at his beach property for several days. On Sunday, August 13, he was criticized for saying “no comment” when a reporter asked him about the mounting death toll on the island. He relaxed on the beach and rode his bike around while the Hawaiians searched for their loved ones.
There was criticism from Republicans about the president’s lack of an East Palestine, Ohio, visit. At the beginning of the year, a toxic railway derailment affected the community by forcing locals to abandon their houses. While flying over the state on his way to numerous campaign events across the country, Biden has broken his vow to actually visit the state.
Biden stated on August 15 that he will assist Maui for “as long as it takes.” His comments weren’t part of a prepared address about the island and the tragedy; rather, he casually included them in a set of statements he made in Milwaukee. In what way? This was just a routine campaign stop where he could boast about his economic accomplishments and mark the first anniversary of the bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act.
The President and First Lady Biden have pledged to visit Maui very soon. They will visit the island on August 21 to meet with first responders, survivors, and other officials, according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
On August 10, Biden declared Hawaii a Major Disaster Area. This paves the way for the Democratic governor of Hawaii, Josh Green, to quickly receive federal aid for a state of emergency. Loans to cover uninsured property losses, housing assistance grants for repairs and interim accommodation are all part of the package.
The counties of Maui and Hawaii can access funding for “debris removal and emergency protective measures” on a “cost-sharing basis.” Maona N. Ngwira, an official with FEMA, has been put in charge of coordinating relief efforts in fire-stricken areas. Also, the federal government sent roughly 500 people to Maui to aid the locals. To date, FEMA has distributed over 75,000 gallons of water and 50,000 meals. Payments of $700.00 were made available to evacuees by FEMA.