Supporting Maui Disaster Relief Efforts

Aug 18, 2023 | Your Source

 Combined Joint Task Force 50 (CJTF-50) search, rescue and recovery elements conduct search operations of areas damaged by wildfires in Lahaina, Maui, Aug. 15, 2023. Members of CJTF-50 from the Hawaii Army and Air National Guard, U.S. Army Active Duty and Reserve are actively supporting Maui County authorities to provide immediate security, safety, and well-being to those affected by the wildfires to ensure unwavering support for the community of Maui and first responders. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew A. Foster.

The Defense Department is continuing its disaster relief efforts related to the devastating wildfire on Maui, Hawaii. The Hawaii National Guard has activated about 258 soldiers and airmen for duty that includes liaison support to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, command and control elements, and local law enforcement. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been assigned to remove debris and temporarily restore power. Coast Guardsmen have been working to minimize maritime environmental impacts, while remaining ready to respond to any new reports of individuals in the water. 

DOD has provided transportation of personnel and cargo to include inter-island air and sea transportation. The department also remains on standby for aerial fire suppression. In addition, it has set up staging areas on Maui and Oahu, including Schofield Barracks in Oahu which has been set up to support facilities for billeting, life support, and hygiene facilities for federal emergency responders. Read more on DOD’s response HERE.

More than 4,400 survivors have registered with FEMA for federal assistance and may be eligible for immediate resources such as hotel rooms or financial assistance. Survivors who have not yet registered can do so 24 hours a day by calling 800-621-3362, by visiting or by using the FEMA App. To date, FEMA has approved more than $2.3 million in assistance to 1,331 households, including more than $798,000 in initial rental assistance, to help survivors jumpstart their recovery. Learn more about assistance from FEMA and its partners HERE.  

Industry is also playing a key role in disaster relief efforts on the island. Pasha Hawaii’s supply chain routes are fully operational as support efforts are underway. The company has enacted its Emergency Response Plan which includes prioritizing emergency rations, foodstuffs and medical supplies via available barge capacity to Maui and its direct vessel roll-on/roll-off service. In addition, the company donated $25,000 to non-profit Hawaii Community Foundation in support of Maui Strong.

Matson reports it is working closely with federal, state, and county emergency response agencies to prioritize the movement of emergency equipment and relief supplies. Matson normally operates twice-weekly service to Maui. The company has chartered an additional barge which it will have it on standby in order to add sailings to Maui as needed and requested by the local authorities. Read more on the maritime industry’s response HERE.

Members of the airline industry, including Delta, Southwest, United and FedEx, have also played a key role in relief efforts. More than 150 relief flights from August 10–14 helped transport survivors to safety off the island. Airlines are also offering increased flexibility for travelers whose air travel plans are impacted by the fires, including travel waivers to and from Kahului Airport (Maui). In addition, several airlines have made significant financial and in-kind contributions. Read more on the airline industry’s relief efforts HERE.

How can you help? The most effective way to help victims is through cash donations, as that’s the quickest way to get assistance to those in need. It immediately grants on-the-ground charities flexibility to purchase the supplies they need.

However, it’s important to make sure you donate to reputable organizations. To avoid scammers who create fake charities during natural disasters, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency recommends donating to trusted, well-known charities. It currently recommends the Maui Strong Fund and American Red Cross of Hawaii. For more details on donating, click HERE.


By Sharon Lo, Managing Editor, DTJ & The Source

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