Help and wrath spread in the ashes of Lachaina | CNN (2023)

Help and wrath spread in the ashes of Lachaina | CNN (1)

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Residents come together to rebuild after the fire

03:02 - Bron:CNN

Lahaina, Hawaii CNN

A week after the wind brought itthe most horrific disaster in modern Hawaiian historymembers of Maui's working class have become the first responders and commanders in the standoff.

With everything from U-Haul trucks to loaner boats to canoes, hundreds of lifeguards, carpenters and bartenders have set up and stocked nearly a dozen pop-up shelters nearby.the scorched earth of Lahaina, usually without the help of someone in uniform. The explosion was so big that what started as a plea for fuel, ice and diapers grew into a request for shipping containers to store everything.

A woman fetches water from a Lahaina mall where several groups are distributing groceries.

But between the disappointing official response, tourists snorkeling during the search, and stories of real estate speculators preying on grieving families, Hawaii's famous "aloha spirit" is tricky.

"Look around," Keoki Naihe said on Sunday as he nodded at the makeshift camp feeding a small crowd with organized efficiency at Pohaku Beach Park, wondering why there were no dignitaries to offer their support.

"They don't care about us," said Alika Peneku. The self-employed contractor and engineer's house was saved from the flames, but after giving it to a displaced family with a baby, he slept in a cot next to neighbors and strangers in one of the groups the community calls "pods."

Help and wrath spread in the ashes of Lachaina | CNN (3)

Alika Peneku, left, and Keoki Naihe, said tourists should leave while Maui heals.

"Tourists have slept here," he said. “Three families slept here the first night and we fed them as if they were locals. Why not? But nobody came to help us."

He nodded to Charlie and Brittany Fleck, a couple from Maui who spent the week raising money on Facebook and handing out money to survivors. CNN was there as they discussed a caravan of relief supplies through paperwork and checkpoints.

Help and wrath spread in the ashes of Lachaina | CNN (4)

Charlie Fleck organized a convoy of nine trucks to Lahaina.

"They need more help than we can imagine," said Charlie Fleck, his voice choked with emotion. When they pulled their rented U-Haul full of pillows and medicine into Lahaina and saw the devastation for the first time, they cried.

"I can't imagine being here," Charlie said, deep in thoughtdestruction all around. "No electricity, no AC, just pain, only in the dark, you know?"

Help and wrath spread in the ashes of Lachaina | CNN (5)

The devastation of Lahaina can be seen from the only road into town.

While the Flecks distributed money to grateful families, Grace Hurt ran a makeshift boatlift to supply pods like Peneku's.

“All those who are Native Hawaiians and all those who have made their home here, we respect you,” she said, describing the tons of supplies her friends had delivered to remote communities. "We're here for you. We're working with you. We'll bring you back."

Lieutenant General Sylvia Luke of Hawaii called the fires on Maui "unprecedented." Zeke Kalua/County of Maui Help is desperate in Hawaii. Here's what you can do

But as he spoke, a tour charter docked and the snorkels from an excursion near Lahaina were unloaded. "This is notnecessaryshe said, using the Hawaiian expression for fair harmony, shaking her head in disgust.

While the Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureau used social media to "strongly discourage" visitors from vacationing on Maui's west side. Peneku was butterier.

"Go away," he said. "Give us a chance to heal. If any of these tourists' houses burned down, they wouldn't want anyone outtheirshome to make fun excursions. They want to have time to grieve. They want time to rebuild."

As makeshift camps like the one in Pohaku Beach Park pop up,passing salvage crewsOnce upon a time, homes, businesses, and historic monuments burned to the ground as wildfires spread wildly on Aug. 8. At least 99 people have been confirmed killed in the fires and that number could double in the next 10 days, Hawaii's governor said. Josh Green told CNN this Monday.

Help and wrath spread in the ashes of Lachaina | CNN (7)

The supplies are sorted, stored and shipped under a blue tarpaulin.

A few miles away from Pohaku Beach Park, amid another bustling hive of survivors and volunteers, the Hall of Fame waterman agreed that tourism can be very important to the economy, but it can wait.

"(Employees) shouldn't be telling us, 'Oh, we want to open in six months,'" Archie Kalepa told CNN from his garden of relief supplies. “The truth is that there is destruction. We're not ready to show people what we're living in six months from now."

A former chief of ocean safety on Maui, the ninth-generation Hawaiian once led dozens of lifeguards in charge of millions of visitors and pioneered the use of jet skis for ocean rescues. Now he's trying to find a dust fence and face masks to protect his neighborhood from the blowing of toxic ash.

read more

  • How cadaver dogs will help locate the dead
  • Photos before and after the damage
  • Why emergency sirens weren't used to warn residents
  • Cultural icons were lost or destroyed by the fire
  • How can I help?
  • How could the fires spread so quickly?
  • What we know so far about the federal response
  • Kalepa said that thanks to a valiant effort by neighbors and firefighters, only two of the 104 homes in his neighborhood burned down, and he narrowly defended Maui County's disaster management against mounting criticism from the community.

    "I don't think that's fair," he said. "Because it's a crime scene," he added, pointing to the charred remains of his neighbor's house. His main long-term concern is that without his, Maui will rebuild againohana, or extended family, as they are billed from their country of birth.

    “One of the problems we're going to see in this community is that the big land buyers are going to buy us out. And do you know what will happen when that happens? we're gone People who have lived here for a long time get offers to leave. We need to find solutions to ensure they don't have to start from scratch and pay to build their homes from scratch."

    FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told CNN after a weekend tour of the Lahaina ruins that the agency has "a limited amount of funding that can support some home repairs, but as we see here, some of them don't get fixed all the time." houses".

    "So if they don't have enough insurance, they get little funding from FEMA," Criswell said. "We can also work with our partners like the Small Business Administration, which can provide small home loans up to $500,000."

    Help and wrath spread in the ashes of Lachaina | CNN (8)

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    Boats melted in the harbor and more devastation from wildfires in Maui

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    But in the billionaire playing field and rising house prices, there is concern that it won't be enough for some families to rebuild and stay.

    "A friend already got a call from someone who wanted to buy his property," Naihe said at the beach camp. Similar stories on social media have generated as much disdain as insensitive snorkelers.

    "We've already been priced out of many of these homes, and we've had three to four families work multiple jobs just to stay," Penecu said, shaking his head. "Now I understand the pressure is probably about to break, but don't sell your property," he pleaded with his working-class neighbours. "Don't run. Please. Wait as long as you can," he said with a sigh and shrugged.

    "It's hard being Hawaiian in Hawaii."


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