Biden to visit Hawaii and meet wildfire survivors

US President Joe Biden arrives at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on 15 August 2023, as he returns to the White House. President Biden traveled to Wisconsin to speak about Bidenomics.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP

US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Hawaii next week to survey the devastation left in the wake of the deadly wildfires that ravaged the Maui resort town of Lahaina last week, the White House said on Wednesday.

Biden on Monday will meet with first responders and survivors, as well as federal, state and local officials, the White House said in a statement.

An aerial image taken on August 10, 2023 shows des

An aerial image taken on August 10, 2023 shows destroyed homes and buildings burned to the ground in Lahaina in the aftermath of wildfires in western Maui, Hawaii.

The inferno killed at least 106 people after racing from grasslands outside town into Lahaina last Tuesday and charring a 13-square-km area of town in hours. The fire, which caught residents by surprise, destroyed 2 200 buildings and caused an estimated $5.5 billion in damage, officials said.

A week later, traumatized residents of the West Maui town have grown weary from living off relief supplies while many have been kept from inspecting their homes and still left awaiting news of their missing loved ones. Hundreds of people are still believed to be missing.

Up to 20 cadaver dogs have led search teams on a block-by-block search of the ashes. The teams have covered only 27% of the disaster area as of Tuesday, Governor Josh Green said in a televised address on Tuesday. Some 80% to 90% of the zone is expected to have been swept by the weekend.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago)

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