FEMA, Federal Family Unite to Support Hawaiʻi Wildfire Response, Recovery

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Aerial view of the Lahaina wildfire aftermath. (8.11.23) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi

Wildfire updates (for Saturday Aug. 12): HERE.

More than a dozen federal agencies and departments are mobilized to assist state, county, nonprofit and private sector partners to help the people of Hawaiʻi with recent devastating wildfires. Personnel from FEMA, federal agencies and voluntary organizations are arriving daily to Hawaiʻi to support active response and initial recovery efforts. 

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is in Hawaiʻi today with US Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell and Administrator Isabella Guzman of the US Small Business Administration to meet with Gov. Josh Green and other officials to assess the damage. In addition, hundreds of staff from across the federal family have been deployed or mobilized to assist. Federal assets from FEMA, the Department of Defense, the US Coast Guard, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Department of Health & Human Services, as well as many others, have been helping responders since the wildfires began.  


As of Aug. 12, 2023: 

  • FEMA has deployed more than 150 FEMA personnel, including search and rescue teams, with more on the way. Today, Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are in Maui to help residents register for assistance and address any critical needs in the affected neighborhoods.
  • Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccera declared a public health emergency in Hawaiʻi, which allows health care providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration activated the national disaster distress hotline. Professional counselors are available for anyone in Hawaiʻi who may need it. They can be reached via call or text at 1-800-985-5990
  • The US Small Business Administration (SBA) encourages homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofits to apply for low interest disaster loans. Businesses can apply for up to $2 million for physical damage or economic injury. During her visit today, SBA Administrator Guzman will visit with local small business owners to discuss resources available to support their recovery. 
  • The American Red Cross has mobilized volunteers who are focused on providing shelter, food and other necessities to survivors who are unable to return home, as well as helping with family reunification efforts. They are also deploying reunification teams in Maui and Oahu.
  • The Salvation Army is providing thousands of meals to individuals and families at the Maui County Pukalani Shelter.
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers has personnel on the ground supporting local officials with the assessment of the damaged infrastructure.
  • The National Guard has activated 134 troops — including 99 Army National Guard personnel and 35 Air National Guard personnel — to assist in the in the ongoing local and federal wildfire response efforts. 
  • Through its response and rescue operations, the US Coast Guard has saved 17 lives, with 40 additional survivors located and assisted ashore by US Coast Guard Station Maui.
  • The US Department of Agriculture is working on pet reunification and large-animal removal.
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs is working with Veteran Affairs hospital patients to ensure that they have enough supplies, like oxygen.
  • The US Department of the Interior is coordinating with FEMA and other federal and local partners to address the tragic loss of the Lahaina Historic District and National Historic Landmark.

If they can, FEMA encourages Hawaiʻi residents to register for federal assistance by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov, through the FEMA App, or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Residents who use a relay service, such as video relay or captioned telephone service, can give the FEMA operator the number for that service.  

As response and recovery efforts continue, Hawaiʻi residents and tourists should continue to monitor instructions from local authorities.  


For more information on the Hawaiʻi wildfires, visit fema.gov


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments