The death toll in the wildfire outbreak in Hawaii has risen to 99 people, as announced today (Monday) by the Governor of the state, Josh Green. This disaster has now become the deadliest event in Hawaii, with the highest number of casualties from a wildfire in the United States since 1918.
Today as well (Tuesday), a week after the wildfires broke out, firefighting and rescue teams are still conducting searches in the debris with the goal of locating bodies and additional missing individuals in the area. According to local authorities' data, the rescue teams have only covered a small percentage of the affected areas so far, and hundreds of people are still classified as missing.
In his remarks, Green cautioned that the death toll is expected to continue rising. In his estimation, it will take between 8 to 10 days before the final number of casualties can be determined. "Over 140 firefighting teams are already operating in the fire zones, and additional teams are on their way and will join in the coming days," he said. Despite the hopes of the families of the missing that their loved ones are still alive, Green emphasized that "the authorities' assessment at this stage is that we are dealing with a task of finding all those who are no longer with us."
He further clarified that the government will investigate the emergency response to the wildfires and the emergency systems on the island, following numerous complaints from residents about the lack of warnings before the outbreak of the fires. "We will soon know if enough was done to activate the alerts," he said. "This is an unprecedented tragedy, and we will work to find answers."