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850 people are still missing after Maui wildfires, mayor says

As of Monday morning, 850 people are still listed as missing after the the deadly Lahaina wildfire, Hawaii officials said, citing data compiled by the FBI and local authorities. Maui County said Monday that 115 people have been confirmed dead, 35 have been identified and 13 families have been notified.

Mayor Richard Bissen offers an important update with information on efforts to find unaccounted for family members. The next video will have experts explain DNA, forensics and data gathered to locate and identify loved ones.

Posted by County of Maui on Monday, August 21, 2023

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said Monday in a video posted to Facebook that while more than 800 people are still missing, that list once contained 2,000 names. "To the tireless work of the FBI and the Maui Police Department, 1,285 individuals have been located safe," he said. "We are both saddened and relieved about these numbers as we continue the recovery process."

Bissen said there will be daily fluctuation to these numbers, and he urged those with immediate family members who are missing after the fires to provide DNA samples to help assist in the identification process. A Family Assistance Center has been set up at the Hyatt Regency Ka'anapali on Nohea Kai Drive for local people to provide those samples.

Those who are not on Maui can contact the FBI to provide DNA samples, he said.

On Tuesday, Bissen will hold a news conference and will take questions from the public. "Our lives have changed forever and things will not be the same," he said. "What will be the same is the way we care for each other as we grieve and go through this together."

The fast-moving flames ripped through Maui this month, with the historic town of Lahaina feeling the the brunt of the blaze. The town, which was once the capital of Hawaii, was completely devastated, with more than 2,700 structures destroyed. Some residents and tourists jumped into the ocean to try to escape the flames, while others tried to run.

On Monday, President Biden is visiting Hawaii to view the damage and meet with survivors. His administration has been criticized as being too slow in its response to the disaster. 

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