Maui authorities are drastically downplaying the true number of victims of the wildfires that ravaged Lahaina last week, with the actual death toll believed to be at least 480, according to locals.
The official death toll Saturday is 114, but Maui locals like Allisen Medina he said The Daily Mail on Friday that the authorities are hiding the real death toll, which she says is more than four times higher.
“People have been doing their own recovery. I know there are at least 480 dead here on Maui and I don’t understand why they are [the authorities] not saying that Maybe it has to do with DNA or something,” he said.
He also claimed that morgues have run out of body bags and had to send more from the mainland.
“I know they ran out of body bags the first or second night and had to send some from the mainland,” he added.
“I have a personal friend who lost her parents, her sister and her 10-year-old nephew. She entered [to Lahaina] and I saw them there.”
Medina also questioned the government’s slow and inept response to the horrific disaster.
“Not enough is being done 100 percent for people to do it themselves. The government, the aid organizations, they’re not doing anything,” he said. “We have the right to know what is happening. FEMA came here to help with the recovery [process] but we don’t see them. The Red Cross arrived four days late and they are doing nothing. They’re supposed to help and not just stand there.”
“We’re only 100 miles from Oahu, which has several military bases. Why is there such a lack of response? Why are they doing so little? Why is nothing more being done?” she added.
Southwest flight attendant Sarah Trost corroborated Medina’s claims, saying she spoke with a morgue worker in the Maui area who told her that at least 480 people were found dead and that authorities only they had searched 13% of the area, not 78% as they did recently. claimed
“He found many children, children and mothers embraced. Infants, small children, the unimaginable. Husbands and wives, whole [families] in a huddled room, burning to death,” Trost said in a TikTok post.
🔥HELP Maui Rise🔥People NEED help!
A shuttle driver works part-time at the morgue and reports:
💥480 confirmed deaths
💥800 most requested body bags
💥This is after going through only 13% of the houses in Lahaina to find the dead.
💥Full families and children have been found… https://t.co/l0OETiW9gU pic.twitter.com/b23cZHatvm
— Louisa Clary (@louisaclary) August 16, 2023
“It’s all bones. So he’s taking the bones with the ash by putting them in body bags. They don’t have any more room on the island in the morgue, so they’re being shipped in containers to hold these body bags.”
Finished There are still 1,300 people missing while search and rescue operations continue.
This comes amid widespread criticism not only of the government’s tepid response to the wildfires, but also of its management policies that exacerbated the disaster.
For example, a Maui water resources management official woke up refused to release water in West Maui to help prevent the wildfire from spreading.
Maui police too it formed a blockade preventing many cars to evacuate the Lahaina area while the deadly fire was closing in.
This explosive report by Greg Reese offers insight into the government’s slow search and rescue response: