Hawaii Wildfires ─ Red Cross Helping as Search and Rescue Efforts Continue
News Release from Red Cross, August 13, 2023
We send our deepest sympathies to the people of Hawaii whose close-knit way of life, rich with traditions and customs, has been forever altered by these tragic and deadly wildfires.
Early reports indicate the Maui fires ─ the deadliest U.S. wildfires in recent history ─ damaged or destroyed more than 2,200 structures in Lahaina. Most of these were homes and thousands of residents are displaced.
While conditions are improving, there is still a danger as firefighters fight new flare-ups in Lahaina and several other areas. First responders are still conducting search and rescue efforts, and officials report communities will not reopen until these efforts are completed. Some power has been restored, but more than 5,000 customers remain without electricity. Communications are difficult with most cell service down, and critical infrastructure has been destroyed. Officials indicate it could be weeks before these systems are restored.
RED CROSS RESPONSE More than 220 trained American Red Cross disaster workers — from Maui, other Hawaiian islands and all corners of the country — are helping now with more on their way. Disaster workers are also virtually helping people affected by the fires.
When the fires began earlier this week, the Red Cross responded immediately, opening shelters for those affected by this climate-driven crisis. The Red Cross keeps disaster supplies pre-positioned on the islands, which allowed volunteers on Maui to offer immediate help to evacuees. Today our teams are working alongside partners to provide people with a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional support during this challenging time.
In partnership with the county government, trained Red Cross disaster workers are supporting emergency shelters on the islands of Maui and Oahu. The shelter on Oahu is helping Maui residents and tourists that fled in search of safety from the fires. Since the fires began, the Red Cross and partners have provided more than 3,300 overnight shelter stays.
When it is safe to do so and the hardest-hit areas are accessible, Red Cross teams will help with damage assessment and begin distributing relief supplies.
People on the islands want to help and we are grateful for the some 1,300 local residents that have begun their Red Cross volunteer training since the fires began. If you are interested in volunteering, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.
The Red Cross is helping reunite loved ones separated during the fires. If you need assistance locating a missing loved one due to the current disaster call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select Option 4, then follow the voice prompts for "Hawaii Wildfires."
The Red Cross is also helping service members, veterans and their families with requests for financial assistance through military aid societies or with community support resources. Contact our Hero Care Network online at our website, through the Hero Care app or by calling 1-877-272-7337.
GOOD TO KNOW This is a difficult time for everyone affected and it’s important for people to connect with and support each other. If you or a loved one needs help, reach out through the Disaster Distress Helpline for free 24/7 support by calling 1-800-985-5990.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. The app includes an “I’m Safe” feature that help people check on loved ones. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
If you need help or are looking for information and have connectivity, try calling 211, if this service is available in your area, or your local emergency management office.
The Red Cross works with government agencies like FEMA to provide help after disasters. We encourage people affected by these wildfires to apply for federal Disaster Assistance at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. If you use a video relay service, captioned telephone service, or other communication services, please provide FEMA the specific number assigned for that service. You may be eligible for a variety of support including financial or housing assistance.
FIND A SHELTER Many evacuees are choosing not to stay in shelters. Anyone who has been affected by the fires is welcome to stop by a shelter to get a hot meal, charge their phone, and access other essential support.
With communications down, people should follow their local officials to locate shelters. If someone has connectivity, they can find open shelters on redcross.org, the free Red Cross Emergency app or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) and selecting the disaster option. If you have connectivity, you can also find shelters by following your local officials on social media or monitoring local news.
Anyone coming to a Red Cross emergency shelter should bring personal items for each member of their family, including prescription and emergency medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. It’s also important to bring special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, and other items for family members who have unique needs.
We know that people are generous and want to do everything they can to help after a disaster. Our first priority is to provide shelter and support to those affected — and financial donations are the quickest and best way to help those who need it most. The Red Cross will not accept donations of clothing or household items, as these types of donations divert resources away from our mission — whereas financial donations can be used right away to directly help those affected, such as replacing lost items like prescription medications or reading glasses. Every financial donation — no matter the size — brings hope to those affected. For example, $5 can provide a blanket and $10 can provide a meal.
For organizations and individuals wishing to offer services or donations to aid in the county rescue and relief efforts, an online tool is available. Information can be provided at https://tinyurl.com/mauireliefsurvey to be used to help organize and deploy resources.
FIND LOVED ONES If you need assistance locating a missing loved one due to the current disaster, please call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select Option 4. Follow the voice prompts for "Hawaii Wildfires."
Provide as much detail as possible to assist us in potentially locating your missing loved one. Please note call volume is high and callers may experience longer wait times.
YOU CAN HELP Lives have been forever changed and you can help people affected by the Hawaii wildfires by making a financial donation today. Every single gift will make a difference in someone’s life. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767), or text the word HAWAII to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
CLIMATE CRISIS The fires were fueled by a combination of strong winds and drought conditions on the islands. Globally, the climate crisis is increasing the intensity of extreme heat, droughts and hurricanes.
Wildfires — along with the ongoing heat wave ─ are clear examples of how the intensity of climate-rated disasters is worsening. As these extreme weather disasters increase, more people need help from the Red Cross. Find out more about the Red Cross and its work on the climate crisis here.
Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) Through the generosity of our American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and Disaster Responder members, the American Red Cross is prepared before disaster strikes. ADGP and Disaster Responder members help secure a reliable funding base for disaster relief services that enables the Red Cross to respond immediately, meeting the needs of individuals and families affected by disaster, regardless of cost.
ADGP $1M Members:
Amazon; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Bank of America; Best Buy; Build-A-Bear Foundation; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Elevance Health Foundation; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; McDonald’s Corporation; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PayPal; PetSmart Charities; The Pfizer Foundation; The Starbucks Foundation; State Farm; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Truist Foundation; VSP Vision; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
ADGP $500K Members:
Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Bread Financial; Capital One; CarMax; Citi Foundation; The Clorox Company; Danaher Foundation; Darden Foundation; Delta Dental; Dollar General; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company Fund; Fox Corporation; General Motors; Google.org The Home Depot Foundation; International Paper; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; Kaiser Permanente; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; The Kroger Co. Foundation; Liberty Mutual Insurance; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Mastercard; Merck; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; Salesforce; Southeastern Grocers Gives Foundation & Southeastern Grocers, home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie; Target; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Toyota; United Airlines; UPS; USAA; Visa Foundation; The Walt Disney Company; and The Wawa Foundation.
ADGP $250K Members:
7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; The AES Corporation; Ameriprise Financial; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; Barclays; Big 5 Sporting Goods; Build-A-Bear Foundation; CDW; Choice Hotels International; Cisco Foundation; CNA Insurance; The Coca-Cola Foundation; DHL Supply Chain; The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Discover; Duke Energy; Dutch Bros Foundation; Equitable; FirstEnergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; HCA Healthcare; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; The Labcorp Charitable Foundation; Lenovo Foundation; LHC Group; LKQ; Macy’s, Inc.; Major League Baseball; Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc.; Martin Marietta; Mattress Firm; McKesson Foundation; MetLife Foundation; The Middleby Corporation; Neiman Marcus Group; NextEra Energy, Inc.; Northrop Grumman; Northwestern Mutual; Old Dominion Freight Line; Organon; Pacific Life Foundation; Procter & Gamble; Prudential; Raytheon Technologies; Reckitt; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Project, a project of New Venture Fund; Ross Stores Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; Santander; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; ServiceNow; Stanley Black & Decker; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consultancy Services; U-Haul International; U.S. Bank Foundation; and Zurich.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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FEMA and Federal Agency Partners Continue Supporting Local Response Efforts as National VOAD and Other Voluntary Organizations Play Critical Role in Hawaii
News Release from FEMA, August 12, 2023
WASHINGTON -- FEMA, along with its federal and local agency partners, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) member organizations and many other volunteer and faith-based organizations continues responding to survivors' immediate needs following the devastating wildfires in Maui. FEMA and federal partners are supporting the state of Hawaii, focusing on search and rescue operations and assessing damages in the impacted areas. There are now over 200 FEMA personnel deployed to the state and working with local officials to help distribute commodities and aid recovery efforts.
Non-profit and voluntary organizations have been working around the clock to support the wildfire survivors, as VOADs, volunteer organizations and faith-based groups are providing meals and clothing, cleaning up debris and helping survivors jumpstart their recovery.
Anyone interested in providing assistance to disaster survivors in Hawaii may visit the National VOAD website at www.nvoad.org to learn more. Consider cash donations as it allows the most flexibility in obtaining time sensitive resources and has the added benefit of moving money into the local economy to help businesses recover.
In addition to federal, state and county response operations:
The American Red Cross: Red Cross disaster workers responded immediately, opening shelters across Maui to provide refuge for thousands of residents and tourists who have been displaced by the fires. Since the fires began, the Red Cross and partners have provided almost 2,900 overnight shelter stays. As of today, approximately 240 Red Cross personnel are responding or actively deploying.
The Salvation Army is bringing food, shelter, hygiene items and emotional and spiritual care to survivors. They are providing thousands of meals to individuals and families at the Maui County Pukalani Shelter.
The Disability Hui led by the Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities convened 16 partner organizations who serve people with disabilities and the aging community. Together they are working directly with Maui County on continued reunification services to account for every one of their clients. They are coordinating with community agencies, including Catholic Charities and the American Red Cross, to provide direct contact information for the disability organizations to every person with a disability who is staying at shelters and to those who may benefit from their services.
Americares emergency response experts are in transit to Hawaii to support the hardest hit communities. Upon arrival, the team will assess the needs of local health care facilities, coordinate emergency shipments of medicine and relief supplies. Americares is readying hygiene kits, first aid supplies and other critically needed items to send to partner organizations in Hawaii. The health-focused relief and development organization is also prepared to provide emergency funding to help restore health services for low-income and uninsured residents in affected communities.
Samaritan’s Purse deployed North American Ministries assessment teams to determine relief and support with debris clearance and sifting. Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are also on the island to provide emotional support and spiritual comfort to residents suffering in the wake of so much loss.
The Home Cleanup Hotline has been activated. It is anticipated that most volunteer groups will work through Friday, Aug. 25. Survivors needing assistance can call 808-451-3102.
Hawaii residents impacted by the wildfires in Maui county can register for federal assistance by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov, through the FEMA app, or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Residents who use a relay service, such as video relay or captioned telephone service, can give the FEMA operator the number for that service.