One journalist who is on the ground in Maui says that local residents are being "royally screwed" by the very people who are supposed to be helping them. What is worse, some victims are actually being arrested by police simply for trying to visit their own homes.
We are told that at least 115 people were killed in the August 8 inferno. Hundreds of others, including a disturbing number of children, are also missing, which is only fueling speculation that child traffickers may have capitalized on the tragedy to nab a few more kids for their clients.
Thankfully, more than 3,000 people who were previously unaccounted for have been reported safe. As of this writing, there are 385 names on a list of still-missing people, their whereabouts currently unknown.
"We're releasing this list ... because we know it will help the investigation," said Maui Police Chief John Pelletier in a video message he shared with the public. "We're also balancing that because we know when this list comes out, it can and will cause pain for some folks."
"This is not an easy thing to do, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible."
Steven Merrill, an FBI special agent who was appointed to oversee Honolulu, also commented that he and his colleagues are "very thankful for the people who have reached out by phone or email."
"As we get someone off of a list, this has enabled us to devote more resources to those who are still on the list."
(Related: Check out our earlier coverage about things that should have burned in the Maui fires but that were left mysteriously unscathed.)
Journalist Nick Sortor, however, is painting a much different and more profoundly dire picture of what is really happening in West Maui – or rather, what is not happening in terms of the government providing appropriate aid to survivors.
"Good morning again from Maui, where residents are being ROYALLY screwed by local, state and federal governments," Sortor tweeted. "There are COUNTLESS important issues to note, but here are just a handful."
Sortor then listed the following seven issues that Maui survivors face:
"MARK MY WORDS: We WILL get to the bottom of all this," Sortor promised. "I'm putting together a team of local residents & journalists to make it happen. WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT HIDING? WHY DO THEY KEEP LYING TO THE GREAT PEOPLE OF MAUI?"
"I came back to Maui, because the situation is getting WORSE. Corruption is potentially running rampant – including within the NGOs (potentially even within the government-funded Red Cross)."
The latest news about the horrific situation in Maui right now can be found at Disaster.news.
Sources for this article include: