Office of the Governor – News Release – Gov. Green Assesses Lahaina Devastation with President Biden

Posted on Aug 22, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

LAHAINA, HAWAI‘I — Governor Josh Green, M.D., and First Lady Jaime Kanani Green accompanied President Joseph Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen, Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation members, Federal Emergency Management Agency Deanne Criswell and others, on an assessment of the wildfire damage in Lahaina, Maui today.

President Biden pledged to Maui the ongoing support of the nation. “For as long as it takes, we’re going to be with you, the whole country will be with you,” he said. “We will be respectful of your culture and traditions.”

Governor Green cited previous disasters that Hawai‘i has come through.

“We’ve been through so much together in recent years,” said Governor Green. “Three years of COVID, the volcanic eruptions of 2018 and 2022 which ravaged the Big Island; there are scars in people’s lives left by opioids and homelessness, but none of this has been as tragic as this fire in Lahaina.”

“Our hearts are broken and we will heal with the assistance of President Biden; and the federal government, and the love and compassion of resources throughout our state, we know we have the support to lift us up as we find those who are lost to deal with the tragedy,” he said.

“The people of Lahaina will need time to heal, to recover and to grieve,” he said. “Like we’ve been sharing, and as President Biden said today, Lahaina belongs to its people and we are committed to rebuilding Lahaina the way the people of Lahaina want…this land is for the people of Maui and it is reserved as they return and rebuild,” the Governor said, reiterating that he has asked the state Attorney General to enhance criminal penalties for predatory purchases of fire-devastated real estate.

Governor Green re-emphasized that while travel to West Maui is restricted to returning residents and emergency responders, the rest of Maui and our state remains safe and open for visitors. He encouraged visitors to come, “to support our local economy and speed the recovery.”

“The world is watching, and we will show it the true strength of our culture, our people and all that we believe. And as they watch us heal, protect and nurture one another, the world will be reminded why it loves and embraces Hawai‘i and we embrace it.”

President and First Lady Biden returned to Nevada on Air Force One this afternoon.


For photos, click here. 

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Media Contacts:   

Erika Engle
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Phone: (808) 586-0120
Email: [email protected] 


Makana McClellan
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi
Cell: (808) 265-0083
Email: [email protected]