Maui mayor: New FBI-vetted list puts number of missing in Lahaina at 850

Recovery teams armed with cadaver dogs have so far searched about 85% of historic Lahaina town for the remains of victims.
Published: Aug. 20, 2023 at 2:29 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 21, 2023 at 12:34 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui is preparing for a presidential visit as the grim work of searching for remains in historic Lahaina continues.

Teams armed with cadaver dogs have searched about 85% of the town.

In an interview with CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Gov. Josh Green said the final 15% of the town not yet searched includes larger buildings, where remains might be more difficult to recover.


Meanwhile, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said in a post on Instagram that the number of missing now stands at 850. That new figure, down from as many as 2,000, is based on new estimates from the FBI.

“We are both saddened and relieved about these numbers,” Bissen said.

He added that the number of fatalities identified will continue to rise.

President Biden will visit Maui on Monday to meet with survivors, first responders and government officials. In a statement on Sunday, the president said “my heart, my prayers and my focus” are with the victims of the Maui wildfires and their families.

HNN will carry special coverage of the president’s visit online and on air starting at 11 a.m.

“I will do everything in my power to help Maui recover and rebuild from this tragedy. And throughout our efforts, we are focused on respecting sacred lands, cultures, and traditions.”

Biden’s visit is happening just shy of two weeks after the ferocious blaze tore through the community, leaping with frightening speed from house to house and business to business.

In places, the temperature of the fire exceeded 2,000 degrees.

In his statement, Biden said more than 1,000 federal personnel are on the ground to aid in the recovery. Of those, roughly half are search-and-rescue team members.

Others are helping with disaster aid.

To date, FEMA has approved about $8 million in aid to nearly 2,000 households. The agency has also made more than 50,000 meals available and some 75,000 liters of water.