Since the fires first broke out on August 8, at least 114 people have died and 850 people are still missing….reports Asian Lite News
Thirteen days after the eruption of the deadliest US wildfire in over a century, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden inspected the widespread destruction in Hawaii’s Maui Island, telling survivors of the state’s worst ever natural disaster that the nation “grieves with you”.
On Monday, the Bidens toured the charred ruins of the historic town of Lahaina, which has completely been destroyed in the fires, and also met first responders, the BBC reported.
Since the fires first broke out on August 8, at least 114 people have died and 850 people are still missing.
“For as long as it takes, we’re going to be with you. The whole country will be with you. The country grieves with you, stands with you and will do everything possible to help you recover,” the President was quoted as saying.
President Biden, who also took an aerial tour, described the wildfire devastation as “overwhelming”.
The visit comes amid intense scrutiny against the Biden administration over its response to the disaster, the BBC.
When asked about the rising death toll while he was at a Delaware beach on August 13, President Biden led to more criticism when he said: “No comment”.
The White House has said that he delayed his trip to the disaster zone so he wouldn’t distract from recovery operations.
On August 10, the President had issued a major disaster declaration to expedite federal funding and assistance to the area.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 1,000 federal responders are currently on the ground in Hawaii.
Meanwhile, local officials have also faced criticism.
Maui’s emergency management chief resigned last week after the agency faced backlash for failing to activate its alarm system in the wake of the fire.