Office of the Governor – News Release – Gov. Green, Federal Officials Provide Updates on Maui Damage

Posted on Aug 13, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

WAILUKU, MAUI, HAWAI‘I – Governor Josh Green, M.D., Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell and other federal officials joined together on Maui to deliver a united briefing about the Maui wildfires’ impacts and round-the-clock efforts for Maui residents and visitors.

Officials summarized an assessment of affected neighborhoods and business districts earlier in the day, as well as detailing federal and state relief made available by this week’s presidential disaster declaration, requested by Governor Green.

“We ask for a lot of understanding about traveling into the zone where the fire occurred,” said Governor Green. “The reason is the health consequences, the heavy metals … the recommendations are to avoid the structures because they could still fall on people and we’ve lost too much life already.”

“I think what people are most interested in is housing, how we’re going to house our people,” Governor Green said. “We put together a Temporary Housing Task Force to work with our federal partners. We’ve already secured 1,000 rooms. Five hundred rooms will go to families that have been displaced because of the terrible fire, the other 500 rooms will go to support, initially …In the days that follow, we’ll have long-term rentals, those are the short-term rentals-turned-long-term. All of that is going to be covered, some by the state, some it’s going to begiven charitably and finally, FEMA will cover a great deal of the cost,” he said.

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen spoke of the dangers to the public in the hardest-hit area of Lahaina and the need to allow for recovery of the victims, with 89 being the latest available number.

“We’re not letting anybody into the impacted zone … It is not safe, it is a hazardous area and that’s why experts are here,” he said. “We’re not doing anybody any favors by letting them back in there quickly, just so they can get sick. That can wait. A lot of what’s happening now is, we’re asking for the respect and dignity of recovering anyone who is still there … That’s the phase we’re in.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell accompanied Governor Green and others on the assessment visit Saturday.

“What I always find, even during these incredibly tragic times, is the resilience of a community to come together … it always gives me hope that we will be able to rebuild,” she said. “We are going to be here every step of the way, to help this community recover. We already have 150 people on the ground and we have more coming,” she said. Administrator Criswell strongly encourages affected families to contact their insurance companies and to register for FEMA assistance via or by calling 1-800-FEMA (3362).

Additional dignitaries at today’s news conference included U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono; U.S. Representative Jill Tokuda; U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman; U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell; Joint Task Force Commander, Brigadier General Stephen F. Logan; Hawai‘i Army National Guard Col. David Hatcher, and U.S. Army Col. David Fielder.

Assets from the site assessment today can be found at the link below. Photos are courtesy Office of Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green, M.D. (Local outlets are welcome to credit Office of the Governor.)

Link to photos.

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Media Contacts:  

Erika Engle

Press Secretary

Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i

Office: (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]