More than 1,000 people are reportedly still missing in Maui due to the ongoing wildfires, with local officials recently placing the confirmed death toll at 114.
In comments given to CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green estimated that at least 1,000 people were missing in Maui, with rescue operations ongoing.
“More than 1000 are unaccounted for, about 1050. It will take several weeks, still, some of the challenges are going to be extraordinary,” said Green, who noted that 85% of the impacted area had been covered.
“That last 15% could take weeks. We do have extreme concerns that because of the temperature of the fire, the remains of those who have died, in some cases, may be impossible to recover meaningfully.”
On Aug. 8, a series of wildfires hit Maui, fueled by a dry summer and winds from a nearby hurricane. The blazes have burned thousands of acres of land and destroyed hundreds of buildings.
When asked about a Maui official’s comments that many of the dead will likely be children, Green responded that it was “possible that there will be many children” among the deceased.
“This is the largest catastrophe and disaster that's ever hit Maui, probably that's ever hit Hawaii outside of wartime events,” he continued. “So we just thank everyone in the world for reaching out and supporting us through all of the, you know, the ways that they can.”
“Right now we are trying to make sure everyone is sheltered, and we begin to get all the federal resources we can to make life in some way livable for the survivors. That's where we are at the moment.”
According to a Sunday update from Maui County officials, there are 114 “confirmed fatalities” though names have not been released yet, as next of kin have yet to be contacted.
According to the update, the Olinda fire is 85% contained, the Kula fire is 85% contained, the Lahaina fire is 90% contained and Pulehu/Kihei fire is 100% contained.
Officials warned that there remained an unsafe water advisory for Lahaina and Upper Kula, urging residents to “only use bottled water or potable water provided from tankers for things like drinking, brushing teeth, ice-making, and food preparation.”
On Saturday, Green signed the Sixth Proclamation Relating to Wildfires, which “strongly discouraged” any nonessential travel to western Maui at the present time.
“Visitors have largely heeded the call to vacate West Maui, so hotels and other accommodations can be used for displaced residents and emergency workers,” the proclamation noted.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Hawaii on Monday.