People helping people in Maui amid wildfire tragedies
Mā‘alaea Harbor was busy this afternoon are Maui residents gathered supplies and loaded them into boats to send over to people still in Lāhainā following a wildfire that ripped through the old Hawaiian fishing village.
As of this afternoon, the Lāhainā fire is 80% contained. Maui fire crews continue to battle two additional fires in Pūlehu and Kula. The death toll has risen to 53.
With the two roads still closed going into West Maui — except to emergency responders and government officials — many residents aren’t leaving for basic necessities because they don’t know when they’ll be allowed back into their community.
West Maui has been without power and water since Tuesday when the fire started. So, other Maui residents are coming to the rescue.
Out of Kahului, commercial boat captain Layne Nakagawa and volunteers loaded his 31-foot vessel, Naomi-K, with a wide variety supplies including five stoves, propane gas, ice, water, food, batteries, phone chargers and radios.
“We’re putting as much as this boat can hold,” Nakagawa said.
Archie Kalepa, an employee for the apparel company Olukai, was among the volunteers loading Nakagawa’s boat. He said he was so grateful his house was one of the ones spared in Hawai‘i Homes Leiali‘i in Lāhainā.
Also at the harbor was Jamie Holtvedt, who loading supplies and goods into a boat with help from two other women. The three women, teachers from Makawao, showed up at the harbor with a car full of donated items they were trying to have taken to Lāhainā by boat.
“I feel so helpless so I’m trying to do anything,” Holtvedt said.
The women collected diapers, peanut butter, towels, cereal and blankets. The teachers agreed that diapers were the most important item.