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Hawaii’s First Lady in Tears: We Lost Lahaina in a Single Day

, Hawaii’s First Lady in Tears: We Lost Lahaina in a Single Day, eTurboNews | eTN

The Banyan Tree in Lahaina still stands. Hawaii Governor Josh Green and First Lady Jaime Kanani addressed the People of Hawaii & the world.

Hawaii has always been a little different from the rest of the United States of America. This U.S. State is known for imperfection, but it’s even more known for people who care, have a big heart, and have unspeakable beauty inside and out.

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The word aloha alone sells this unique travel destination that is also home to a different breed of American citizens, often setting a positive example in the rest of the country.

The first lady was in tears when she started her speech tonight at 6 p.m. Hawaii time to address the people of Hawaii and the world. Maui County at the same time announced 114 confirmed dead at the terrific fire disaster in Lahaina.

Her husband, the governor, took the microphone and, also noticeably shaken by the seriousness of the situation, continued saying he would do everything in his power as Governor to rebuild this former and historic capital of the former Kingdom of Hawaii.

To the visitors and tourists, the Hawaii Governor had one clear appeal and urgent request:

Hawaii is open, safe and welcomes our visitors. Now is the time to Visit Our Beautiful Islands

Tourism will help the economy generate the means to help the people in Maui. He also made it clear that West Maui is a disaster zone and not yet open, but the rest of the Valley Isle and all other islands are welcoming visitors with Aloha and Open Arms.

Transcript of Governor Josh Green, M.D., and First Lady Jaime Kanani Green address to the People of Hawaii and the World:

Aloha. Good evening and thank you for joining us as we address the devastating crisis on Maui.

Ten days ago fires fanned by hurricane-force winds swept through the town of Lahaina and other areas of Maui, inflicting terrible damage on our communities there.

Our hearts go out to the victims of the disaster and their families as we come together to support the people of Maui.

More than 200 years ago, King Kamehameha first unified our islands and made Lahaina the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Over two centuries, with their aloha, their dedication, and their hard work, the people of Lahaina built their town into a special place, a unique and vibrant community for generations.

Lahaina was beautiful, had culture, and a rich history frequented by artists, musicians, and visitors from around the world.

Tragically, it took less than a single day for us to lose Lahaina in the deadliest fire our country has seen in more than a century.

The scope of the devastation on Maui is difficult to express in words. More than 2200 buildings have been destroyed. And another 500 have been damaged at an estimated cost of nearly $6 Billion. But far more devastating than any material loss is the loss of precious lives of mothers, fathers, grandparents, sons, and daughters – lives that can never be replaced.

Now we are engaged in the difficult work of searching for survivors, reuniting separated families, and identifying the remains of those we’ve lost.

There are now 470 search and rescue workers and 40 search dogs combing through the hundreds of burned buildings, and they’ve already completed searching more than 60% of the disaster area. The number of lives we have lost has climbed to over 100, and we expect it to increase each day as we continue our search.

This process is agonizing for the families. Waiting for word from their loved ones and heartbreaking for those searching through the debris.

It’s testing our capacity to continue searching, and our ability to endure pain and loss. And our commitment to locate and identify.

Every person was affected by this disaster. Right now, we are bringing in relief and aid to those affected by the fire on a massive scale.

The Hawaii National Guard continues to assist first responders on Maui with search and rescue efforts and with securing the fire-damaged areas.

As they also help active duty military and volunteers with the delivery of food water and medical supplies.

The efforts of the National Guard, our first responders, and the entire Maui community have been nothing less than heroic. And we thank them for their courage, dedication and sacrifice.

We have secured over 2000 housing units in Maui to shelter those displaced by the fire. And we are working with the American Red Cross to provide housing to all the survivors.

As long as it’s necessary, I’ve personally been on the ground in the disaster area as much as possible, helping to manage the response.

Caring for the injured and comforting survivors, listening to their stories of tragedy loss, and hope. I held the hand of a 30-year-old local Lahaina man as he was being bandaged with extensive first and second-degree burns to his legs and face which he suffered as he pulled strangers into his car to save them from the fire as his own clothes were burning.

I spoke with an 80-year-old Japanese man, who shared that for the last decade, he had spent most of his time volunteering in West Maui, and now he’s unable to locate two of his best friends.

A young Filipino woman seven months pregnant, cried as she told me she didn’t know how she would make it to her next medical appointment to make sure that her baby is safe and healthy.

With tears in her eyes, she told me she intends to name her baby Faith.

I want everyone who is listening to know that I will do everything in my power as governor to bring us back, to help us heal, and to find a way to move forward past this tragedy.

I am personally making sure that Maui receives every possible resource available from the federal government, from the private sector, and from all around the world, and that all of these resources get to the people who need them.

I have ordered a comprehensive assessment of every detail of our response to the fires on Maui.

We will get to the bottom of exactly how the fire started, and how our emergency procedures and protocols need to be strengthened. and how we can improve our defenses to protect us in the future.

We’ve already received massive assistance from FEMA and other federal agencies.

We are especially grateful to President Biden for his support and partnership. From the first hours of the disaster. He offered every resource to aid our response immediately ordering the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy, and the third Fleet to support our rescue and relief efforts and issue a presidential disaster declaration within hours of our request.

I’ve invited the president and the first lady to visit Maui next week when it can be done safely and in a way that will support our recovery efforts. We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support and Aloha the people of Maui have received from every part of our state, from across the Nation, and from around the world.

Along with innumerable offers of assistance to aid the survivors and to help rebuild Lahaina.

This loss we have suffered is unspeakable and devastating. We will continue to mourn as we care for the survivors and begin to move forward together.

With federal aid, we will begin a massive recovery effort to clean up and begin to rebuild the affected areas of Maui.

We will rebuild Lahaina

t will take years of work and billions of dollars. But we are committed to this effort.

And together we will meet this challenge.

Let me be clear!

Lahaina belongs to its people.

And we are committed to rebuilding and restoring it the way they want it. The land in Lahaina is reserved for its people as they return and rebuild.

I have instructed the Attorney General to impose enhanced criminal penalties on anyone who tries to take advantage of victims by acquiring property in the affected areas.

We humbly ask that people please not travel to the area affected by the disaster in West Maui until further notice, except for returning residents and authorized emergency relief workers.

However, all other areas of Maui and the rest of Hawai’i are safe and open to Visitors.

We continue to welcome and encourage travel to our beautiful state which will support the. local economy and help speed the recovery of those who have already suffered.

To support the victims of the Maui Fire, please give to the American Red Cross of Hawai’i or the Maui Community Foundation.

These are organizations that will ensure your donations get to those in need.

Lahaina will rise again. It will be a symbol of our resilience, our values, and our sacred bonds of Ohana when it is rebuilt. It will be a living memorial to the loved ones who have lost the native Hawaiian Culture that founded it centuries ago.

And the values that will enable us to endure this tragedy and flourish again.

Like the great Banyan Tree that survived the fire

and still stands among the ruins today will set an example for the world on how we will protect and preserve our culture, our history, and our values as we navigate the challenges of sustainable development, extreme weather, and global climate change in this century. We will never forget.

We will never abandon the survivors or our commitment to help them recover and heal. We will mourn those we have lost and honor their memories and support the survivors, and we will nurture our hope for the future that will emerge again.

Aloha. And good night.

About the author


Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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