For Immediate Release:
Press Release by:
Alice L. Lee, Chair
Maui County Council
Maui County residents showing community resilience by supporting those affected by the island-wide fires
WAILUKU, Hawaiʻi (August 9, 2023)—Maui County Council Chair Alice L. Lee said today she encourages residents to continue working together to build resilience amid the tragedies caused by this week’s raging wildfires in Lāhainā, Kīhei, Kula and other parts of Maui.
Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke and Mayor Richard T. Bissen, Jr. have issued emergency proclamations permitting governmental agencies to more readily assist with evacuations, discouraging all non-essential travel to Maui and encouraging West Maui visitors to leave as soon as possible, Lee said. Emergency proclamations allow officials to take immediate action to ensure public safety and order are prioritized.
“On behalf of the Maui County Council, we would like to express sympathy to families of those who have lost their lives and to those who have been injured or are enduring the severe damage to properties, belongings and cultural spaces,” Lee said. “As we figure out our next steps, I hold the unwavering belief that we will commit to cultivating community resilience and help each other get through this difficult time.”
Although communication has been limited and there are various uncertainties, many people—both emergency professionals and volunteers—are stepping forward to take care of each other, she said.
Lee listed just some of the many ways people have committed to rebuilding their communities.
• Maui County councilmembers are focused on supporting first responders and residents at emergency shelters and are raising awareness about the shelters’ needs and helping to deliver the most urgently needed items, including water, nonperishable food, blankets and personal-hygiene products.
• A staff member from the Office of Council Services started an initiative alongside her spouse for donation collection and distribution.
• Hale Makua is open for urgent care, with no appointment needed.
• BMW of Maui has transported emergency supplies to West Maui.
• Many organizations and businesses have opened their organizations and business centers, including The Boba Bar Pāʻia, Pāʻia Bay Coffee Bar, Expresso Mafia Maui, Anytime Fitness Pukalani, Maluhia Collective, Lumeria Maui, Sparkys Food Company, Cream B Maui, Hoʻomana Barbell, Restaurant Matsu, Hi-Tech Kahului and Habitat for Humanity Maui.
Lee said social media has helped in sharing information, allowing residents to stay updated on drop-off locations, shelters, food availability and the location of missing family members and friends. Local, statewide and national news outlets have been providing helpful updates as they are received.
Lee said she continues to urge members of the public to seek authoritative information through the official County of Maui website at mauicounty.gov.
She also suggested those who are interested in helping can visit the following websites:
Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund
American Red Cross of Hawaii
Maui Humane Society
Maui Food Bank
“Although our island has been changed forever, this tragedy will never change the character and hearts of our people,” said Lee, who holds the council seat for the Wailuku-Waihe`e-Waikapū residency area. “Now, more than ever, we must rise up and support those in need.”