Green outlines his plan to rebuild Maui economy as death toll reaches 99
by Kim Jarrett, The Center Square, August 14, 2023
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green laid out his vision for rebuilding the fire-stricken Maui economy on Monday and announced 99 people died from the fire.
Tourism is a significant driver of Maui's economy, and some hotels offer to house residents affected by the fire.
"It would be potentially catastrophic if no one traveled to the island," Green said at a news conference on Monday. "We would probably see a mass exodus from Maui."
Green said emergency appropriation will be made as necessary.
"Second, we intend to house our individuals who are going to be rebuilding Lahaina, who are going to be doing the cleaning and the environmental protection piece of Lahaina and west Maui," Green said. "So we will bring that economic activity which means billions of dollars through FEMA, from the president, I have his assurance which has been very generous of him, billions of dollars will flow into our economy.
The governor said he plans to use the local workforce.
"I am already contemplating a works project for local people exclusively, not unlike what we've done in the era of President Roosevelt so that we can have works programs and jobs created. It actually will create a lot of economic activity but in a tragic sense because we will be rebuilding what we have lost."
Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier said about 25% of the area had been searched. He told reporters that people needed to stay out of the area as the 20 cadaver dogs looked for other victims.
"It's not just ash on your clothing when you take it off," Pelletier said. "It's our loved ones. That's why we can't have you walking down there."
"Well over" 2,220 structures were destroyed, and 86% of them were residential, Green said.
About 220 people are in housing, Green said. It is anticipated that housing will be needed for at least 36 weeks, maybe longer, he said.
Green issued a fifth emergency proclamation late Sunday that allows those affected by the fire to get their medicine refilled even if they don't have authorization. The state is allowing doctors from outside of the state to have licenses to practice, he said.
NR: Governor Josh Green, M.D. | Office of the Governor – News Release – Gov. Green, Federal Officials Provide Updates on Maui Damage (hawaii.gov)