President Biden has given the go-ahead for the federal government to supply Hawaii with all necessary aid for the recovery process after Maui was ravaged by severe wildfires, according to an announcement on Tuesday.
The President has expressed his and first lady Jill Biden’s intentions to visit Hawaii as soon as feasible. However, he has emphasized that he does not want his visit to obstruct recovery efforts.
Biden conveyed, “I’ve had conversations with Gov. Josh Green on multiple occasions, assuring him that the state will receive all required assistance from the federal government. I promptly authorized the governor’s request for an expedited major disaster declaration – a formal way of saying we’ll provide whatever you need.”
He added, “Jill and I intend to travel to Hawaii at the earliest opportunity, which I’ve discussed with the governor. Although I’ve been to many disaster zones, I want to ensure we do not hinder the ongoing recovery efforts, but I want to be there to ensure they have everything necessary.”
After spending the weekend at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Biden came under intense scrutiny when questioned by reporters about the escalating death toll in Hawaii, which had reached 99 by Tuesday, with hundreds more unaccounted for. As reported by Bloomberg White House correspondent Justin Sink on Twitter, he offered no comment on the matter.
Governor Josh Green of Hawaii assessed the destruction on Saturday, revealing to the media that the fires in West Maui have damaged or obliterated at least 2,200 structures, 86% of which were homes.
Green estimated that recovering from the staggering $6 billion damage across the island would be an extended process.
In addition to the primary fire, officials report at least two other fires have been blazing on Maui, specifically in the southern area of Kihei and the mountainous inland regions known as Upcountry. As of Tuesday, there were no fatalities connected to these additional fires.
Biden made a short speech in Hawaii on Monday, ignoring the pain and loss of the victims, and began talking about himself, claiming he almost lost his wife, cat, and Corvette in a home fire. Reports showed a small kitchen fire extinguished in about 20 minutes with minimal damage and no loss of life.
The Biden visit also closed several streets and highways for hours due to the President’s motorcade making travel by residents more difficult than expected.