Americares on Hawaii wildfires: 'This recovery will unfortunately take years'
Hawaii's governor says he expects many more than 96 to be found dead from the wildfires in Maui. One local organization is helping survivors and their families.
It has been nearly a week since wildfires in Hawaii first started. Winds from Hurricane Dora have fanned the flames. Some wildfires are still burning, destroying much in their path.
"What we saw on the ground is nothing short of catastrophic," says U.S. Small Business Administration Associate Administrator Francisco Sanchez.
This is already one of the deadliest wildfires in the United States in over a century. The fires have turned the tourist destination into a burnt wasteland. Damaged property is estimated at $5.6 billion.
"We can't begin to understand the grief and the loss that these communities are going through," says Sanchez.
Stamford-based Americares is busy trying to help the survivors, starting from its distribution center. Americares says it has people on the ground in Hawaii assessing the need.
"We anticipate the need for hygiene supplies, for medicines. A lot of the survivors had to leave their homes very quickly and did not have an opportunity to get anything or take anything with them and many have lost everything," says Mariel Fonteyn, Americares director of U.S. emergency response .
Existing hotels meant for tourists are now being used for evacuees and first responders. Americares says it's going to take a long time to get this region back on its feet.
"This recovery will unfortunately take years," says Fonteyn.
Dry and hot conditions fueled these fires. Investigators are trying to determine the actual cause.
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