Update on the Recent Wildfires in West Maui: A Community Reeling, a Community Healing

Maui’s Struggle and the Journey Ahead

As the world now knows, the beloved island of Maui has recently faced devastating wildfires. The communities of West Maui, in particular, have suffered staggering losses—including life, property, cultural heritage, and businesses.  Although the hearts of Maui residents are heavy, they are buoyed by the incredible support received from around the globe.

The Depth of Devastation

The scale of the devastation is both material and deeply human. In Lahaina alone, fires have consumed 2,719 structures, 86% of which were family homes. Kula also suffered immensely, with 544 structures destroyed. Beyond the material losses, the community has faced the irreplaceable loss of cherished loved ones. In one harrowing day, more than 2,860 homes were lost, alongside the profound loss of life, leaving a deep emotional and cultural impact.

United in Grief and Generosity

In these trying times, compassion and generosity take on even greater significance. We are redoubling our commitment to provide financial support to the impacted communities via our Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund—administered by the Hawaii Community Foundation. We pledge to match every donation, effectively doubling the aid, and guarantee that 100% of these contributions will be channeled directly to meet urgent community needs through the Maui Strong Fund.

Doubling Down on Support

Thanks to your incredible support, we’re excited to share that not only did we meet our initial goal of matching $50,000 in donations, but we also doubled it to match an additional $50,000! To further amplify your impact, the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund has contributed an extra $7,000 from the Mealoha Kraus People’s Choice Award directly to our Maui Strong Fund matching campaign. Together, to date, the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund has generated more than $300,000 going directly to HCF’s Maui Strong Fund. Your donations fuel this effort, and we’re humbled and honored to match them.

Maui Strong: Strength in Unity

Through the Maui Strong Fund, The Hawaii Charitable Foundation has distributed aid to a variety of organizations. These range from the American Red Cross for emergency shelters to Arc of Maui for assisting adults with intellectual disabilities. The fund aims to address diverse community challenges, from housing and healthcare to food security and animal welfare. To learn more about how HCF allocated funds, click here.

Travel Advisories

According to the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, “While vacation travel to West Maui (including Lahaina, Nāpili, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua) is strongly discouraged through October 17, travel to all other parts of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena, Pāʻia and Hāna) and other Hawaiian Islands are welcomed to keep residents employed and our economy alive.” For more information, visit Maui Travel Updates.

Though the spirit of aloha endures, there are travel advisories discouraging visits to West Maui, including Lahaina, Nāpili, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua. However, other areas of Maui and the Hawaiian Islands remain open for safe travel. Supporting local businesses in these regions can greatly assist the local economy during these challenging times.

How You Can Help

The situation remains critical, and your support can make a meaningful difference. Here’s how you can help:

  • Donate: Every donation to our Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund is matched and directly benefits the community through the Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund.
  • Support Local Businesses: Consider supporting businesses in other parts of Maui and the Hawaiian Islands to help sustain the local economy.
  • Share Information: Use your platforms to disseminate accurate information and fundraising links. Social media is a powerful tool for rallying community support.
  • Stay Updated: Keep an eye on official updates and travel advisories as the situation is continually evolving.

Read Our Agents’ Stories: Personal Perspectives

We invite you to read blogs penned by our agents who live in the affected communities and across the islands. Their personal accounts offer invaluable insights into the resilience and spirit of Maui’s people.

The Maui Fires: How You Can Help

“Because so many people have asked how they can help, I’ve made a list of some of the organizations that are working hard to address Maui’s many needs at the moment.”

3 Ways You Can Help Maui: Uniting Through Monetary Support, Tourism, and Prayer 

“The recent devastating fires have left us grappling with challenges, but they’ve also shown us the incredible strength of our community. If you feel so inclined, here are 3 ways you can help.”

Maui Wildfire Relief and Volunteer Opportunities

“The impact of these fires will be felt for years to come and the landscape on Maui is changing faster than any of us imagined.”

Glimmers #MauiStrong

“It is hard to hold on to hope when things seem so utterly dark. But, there are glimmers. Glimmers of hope, light and goodness.”

Maui Still Needs Your Support!

“It seems unthinkable to blog about anything related to Hawaiʻi real estate. We are all still heartbroken over the devastating fires on Maui and the loss of life, homes and livelihoods.”

Looking Forward

As Maui mourns, it is also drawing strength both from within and from the support of the global community. While the path to recovery is daunting, every act of kindness, each donation, and even a simple message of encouragement can serve as stepping stones toward a brighter future for this resilient island.

Please join us in keeping Maui strong. Mahalo.

For the latest updates and ways to contribute, please visit our Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund website.

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Jerrold Peterson

August 24, 2023

Dear Hawaii Life:

I think you have been doing a splendid job on reporting the many issues facing all of Maui’s fine people. This particular edition has made it easy to make a contribution to a very reputable goal. I can still remember my first ice cream cone while walking under the famous banyan on Front Street in 1966. Let’s consider that tree as Maui’s resilience. I can no longer travel the distance for a walk and a cone, but I travel to Maui often via the Internet. May you all reemerge from the ashes stronger. Aloha

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