Hawaii officials have started identifying victims of the historic Maui wildfires as the death toll reached 106, with hundreds more missing. Maui police named the first two victims as 74-year-old Robert Dyckman and 79-year-old Buddy Jantoc, a beloved musician who once played with bands including Santana.
As many survivors expressed frustration with government relief efforts, communities have set up sites to distribute food, clothes and other assistance to those in need. Meanwhile, Hawaiians are sounding the alarm over outsiders who almost immediately started preying on survivors to buy up land and property around the historic town of Lahaina, which was all but decimated in the fires.
Paele Kiakona: “Some of the things that’s already been happening is realtors are calling families who lost everything, offering them to buy their property and their home for pennies on the dollar. Just pennies on the dollar. So, it’s pretty offensive to us that people won’t even give us the time to grieve properly. And people’s mental health has been diminished in all of this. They’ve lost everything. People have lost family members. And for them to have that disrespect to come in and really try and buy things up is out of control. So, some of the things that I’ve been doing is gathering all of our community leaders, getting as much resources as I possibly can at the same table so we can speak on how we can prevent these land grabs from happening.”
President Biden said Tuesday he will travel to Hawaii “as soon as he can.”