Hawaii wildfire death toll climbs to 80-UPDATED

Hawaii wildfire death toll climbs to 80-UPDATED
# 12 August 2023 14:13 (UTC +04:00)

Eighty people have now been confirmed to have been killed by wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui, officials say, APA reports citing BBCnews.

There are fears the numbers will rise further in what is officially the US state's worst natural disaster.

Firefighters have been trying to contain fires in several areas, including the historic town of Lahaina which has been utterly devastated.

Hawaii's attorney general has announced a "comprehensive review" into how the authorities responded to the wildfires.

It comes as questions mount over whether officials warned residents fast enough.

State officials reopened Lahaina to people with proof of residency on Friday for the first time since flames swept rapidly through early this week, razing much of the coastal town which has a rich history and attracts some two million tourists a year.

*** 08:29

The death toll from the Maui wildfires rose to 67 on Friday as search teams combed through the smoldering ruins of Lahaina, and Hawaiian officials sought to determine how the inferno spread so rapidly through the historic resort town with little warning, APA reports citing Reuters.

The fires became the deadliest natural disaster in the state's history, surpassing that of a tsunami that killed 61 people on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1960, a year after Hawaii joined the United States.

Officials have warned that search teams with cadaver dogs could still find more dead from the fire that torched 1,000 buildings and left thousands homeless, likely requiring many years and billions of dollars to rebuild.

"Nobody has entered any of these structures that have burned down and that's where we unfortunately anticipate that the death toll will rise significantly," U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii told MSNBC.

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