Joe Biden on Tuesday appeared to forget the name Maui, referring to the island in a speech in Milwaukee as ‘the one where you see on television all the time.’
As the death toll rose to 101 as rescuers combed the rubble in Lahaina, Hawaii, the president told the crowd that there were still fires on the Big Island – also known as Hawaii.
He pointed out the fires were blazing on the Big Island, not Maui, but appeared to struggle to name Maui.
‘The Army helicopters helped fire suppression efforts on the Big Island because there’s still some burning on the Big Island — not the one that, not the one where you see on television all the time,’ he said.
Joe Biden said on Tuesday that fires were still burning on the Big Island in Hawaii, but not in ‘the one where you see on television all the time’
Burnt out cars are seen on Wahikuli Terrace in Lahaina on Tuesday
A mobile morgue is seen being readied in Lahaina on Tuesday. The death toll has now crossed 100 as a result of the fires
Biden, who was quick to approve a Federal Emergency, but who has been criticized by Republicans for not yet traveling to the devastated island, said he and his wife intended to visit soon.
‘My wife Jill and I are going to travel to Hawaii as soon as we can,’ he said.
‘That’s what I’ve been talking to the governor about.
‘I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas. But I want to go make sure we got everything they need. Want to be sure we don’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.’
On Sunday, he added to anger by replying ‘no comment’ when asked, after spending two hours at the beach in Delaware, for his reaction to the tragedy.
Kaniela Ing, a Democratic former member of Hawaii’s state legislature, said he was not satisfied by the Biden administration’s response.
‘I campaigned for you,’ he said. ‘Now, when I lose dozens of my friends, family, and neighbors – this?’
More than 3,000 people have registered for federal assistance, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and that number was expected to grow.
FEMA was providing $700 to displaced residents to cover the cost of food, water, first aid and medical supplies, in addition to qualifying coverage for the loss of homes and personal property.
The Biden administration was also seeking $12 billion more for the government’s disaster relief fund, as part of its supplemental funding request to Congress.
The grim task of locating and identifying victims of the worst wildfire in the United States in 100 years was continuing on Tuesday.
While the area has been closed to the public, the state announced plans to reopen the Lahaina Bypass Road on Tuesday to locals. It will be open the entire public on Wednesday.
An aerial view of Lahaina shows the sheer scale of destruction that the wildfires have caused in Hawaii
A firefighter is seen attempting to put out the blaze on Maui
A fire sparked by a downed powerline on the morning of Tuesday, August 8 is believed to have developed into the conflagration which destroyed Lahaina. Officials initially brought the fire under control, but a flareup quickly spread
Maui County officials said on Tuesday morning that they had combed only a third – about 32 percent of the search area, a week after the blazes near the destroyed town of Lahaina broke out.
John Pelletier, the Maui police chief, said in a Monday news conference that he hopes searchers will have covered 85 to 90 percent by the weekend.
On Tuesday, a mobile morgue unit finally arrived to help Hawaii officials working painstakingly to identify the 101 people confirmed killed.
The site was pictured being prepared by FBI agents on Sunday, but by Tuesday it was expected to be operational.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has deployed a team of coroners, pathologists and technicians along with exam tables, X-ray units and other equipment to identify victims and process remains, said Jonathan Greene, the agency’s deputy assistant secretary for response.
‘It’s going to be a very, very difficult mission,’ Greene said.
‘And patience will be incredibly important because of the number of victims.’
Just three bodies have been identified, and officials expected to start releasing names on Tuesday, Pelletier said.
He urged others who have missing relatives to submit DNA samples.
So far 41 samples have been submitted, the county statement said, and 13 DNA profiles have been obtained from remains.
John Pelletier, the chief of Maui police, is urging relatives to provide DNA samples to identify missing loved ones
Josh Green, the governor of Hawaii, is seen at a press conference
Josh Green, the governor of Hawaii, said on Tuesday that children were among the missing.
‘Tragically, yes,’ he told Hawaii News Now. ‘When the bodies are smaller, we know it’s a child.’
He described some of the sites being searched as ‘too much to share or see from just a human perspective.’
Another complicating factor, Green said, is that storms with rain and high winds were forecast for the weekend.
Officials are mulling whether to ‘preemptively power down or not for a short period of time, because right now all of the infrastructure is weaker.’
A week after the fires started, some residents remained with intermittent power, unreliable cellphone service and uncertainty over where to get assistance.
Some people walked periodically to a seawall, where phone connections were strongest, to make calls.
Flying low off the coast, a single-prop airplane used a loudspeaker to blare information about where to get water and supplies.
The local power utility has already faced criticism for not shutting off power as strong winds buffeted a parched area under high risk for fire.
The official cause of the fire has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether the utility’s equipment played any role in igniting the flames.
Green is seen speaking to Maui County mayor, Richard Bissen, in Lahaina
The smoldering ruins of Lahaina are seen on Saturday
Shelee Kimura, the president of Hawaiian Electric, said many factors go into a decision to cut power, including the impact on people who rely on specialized medical equipment and concerns that a shutoff in the fire area would have knocked out water pumps.
Green has said the flames raced as fast as a mile every minute in one area, fueled by dry grass and propelled by strong winds from a passing hurricane .
The blaze that swept into centuries-old Lahaina last week destroyed nearly every building in the town of 13,000.
That fire has been 85 percent contained, according to the county. Another blaze known as the Upcountry fire was 60 percent contained.
The Lahaina fire caused about $3.2 billion in insured property losses, according to calculations by Karen Clark & Company, a prominent disaster and risk modeling company.
The firm said more than 2,200 buildings were damaged or destroyed by flames, with about 3,000 damaged by fire or smoke or both.
Even where the flames have retreated, authorities have warned that toxic byproducts may remain, including in drinking water, after the flames spewed poisonous fumes.
That has left many unable to return home.
The Red Cross said 575 evacuees were spread across five shelters as of Monday.
Green said thousands of people will need housing for at least 36 weeks.
He said on Tuesday that some 450 hotel rooms and 1,000 Airbnb rentals were being made available.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12411271/Joe-Biden-forgets-Maui-death-toll-rises.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Biden appears to FORGET the name of devastated Maui as he breaks silence on firestorm which has left at least 101 dead