Biden approves national disaster declaration for Hawaii as wildfire response continues

The state says the approval makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Maui and Hawaii counties.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 1:48 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 10, 2023 at 9:50 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - President Biden has approved a national disaster declaration for Hawaii, unlocking federal resources to help in the massive response efforts to the ongoing wildfires.

“I’m going to make sure that the state has everything needs from the federal government to recover,” Biden said, in remarks Thursday morning. “Our prayers are with with the people of Hawaii, but not just our prayers. Every asset we have will be available to them.”

Gov. Josh Green said he was notified early Thursday that Biden approved for the declaration.

The president has also offered his condolences Wednesday to the families of those killed in Maui’s raging wildfires and pledged federal support in the recovery.

The state says the approval makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Maui County. The assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and programs to help people recover from the the disaster.

Federal funding also will be available to state and eligible county governments, including certain private, nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis, for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Maui County.

Assistance for emergency protective measures for Hawaii County also will be made available.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) says the approval of the disaster declaration will bring “significant relief to communities on Maui and Hawaii Island.”

Deployed federal resources include Hawaii National Guard and military resources.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.


Earlier this week, Biden offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

“Our prayers are with those who have seen their homes, businesses, and communities destroyed. We are grateful to the brave firefighters and first responders who continue to run toward danger, putting themselves in harm’s way to save lives,” he said.

The White House says damage assessments are continuing, and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.