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Lahaina Residents Frustrated With Government Response As Death Toll Climbs

As search and rescue teams continue to reveal the scale of the massive and destructive impact in the historic town of Lahaina, local residents are increasingly frustrated with the government’s reaction.

According to US officials on Saturday, the death toll in the Maui wildfires rose to 89, with Hawaii Gov. Josh Green cautioning that it would continue to grow.

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The fire has damaged or destroyed an estimated 2,207 structures in Lahaina, and most buildings impacted were residential. 

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Deanne Criswell, says she can’t predict how long the operation will take.

There are now extra search teams and special crews with cadaver dogs to help locate any further victims of fires. 

“We’re bringing in more teams and more dogs to speed up that process as much as we can.”

The Pacific Disaster Centre said water and ready-to-eat meals would be needed daily for displaced residents to shelter 4,500 people.

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Meanwhile, anger is building up among residents towards the government’s reaction, including pre-fire alerts and how assistance was distributed in the aftermath. 

These residents are raising concerns about the absence of preparedness plans for a swift and efficient response.

“I feel like the citizens of this island have been called upon, maybe by a higher power, to actually help because no one else is helping,” Kai Lenny, a professional surfer told the Washington Post.

“Maui has Maui right now, and now Oahu is here supporting Maui,” community member Anthony Jensen told NBC

“We’re doing this as one big family, one big ohana, and that’s our mission right now is just to support the people who really need it.”

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