Gov. Green and Mayor Bissen discuss on disaster recovery and economic impacts

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Wildfire Wildfire Disaster Updates for Aug. 17 are posted: HERE.

To view the press conference in its entirety, visit our stream on the Maui Now Facebook page. PC: Wendy Osher / Maui Now (8.16.23)

Governor Josh Green, M.D., Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen and other officials addressed the public to provide important updates on the Maui wildfires, and responded to significant community concerns regarding the disaster recovery process.

“Like we saw in the pandemic, decisions we made can affect everyone across the islands. So what we’re saying now is travel should not be to West Maui. But the other parts of Maui are safe,” said Gov. Green. “And the rest of the state, of course, is also safe.”

“I’ll be making a much broader announcement and have a broader discussion about this on Friday in a statewide address. But we want people to travel to the state to the extent that they’re not impacting the hard work that these extraordinary people are doing (supporting disaster recovery),” the Gov. said.


“Also, I can tell you economic potential exists in great measure going forward in this district, in this region … I’m anticipating $500 to $600 million of added investment in some of the early cleanup and then there will be billions of dollars in reconstruction. And we also intend to do a public work program to hire local people, so that work comes and stays with our local people. A lot of money is going to be invested in Maui in a kind of an extraordinary way to relief efforts and that’s going to help us survive,” said Gov. Green.

In the short-term, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said the newly-formed housing program to get displaced residents into hotel rooms and homes will also help.

“Because of governor’s work, and FEMA and Red Cross and everyone else here, those hotel rooms that normally would have been filled by tourists, is now filled by not only our local community, but those who have come here to help us,” said Bissen. “That will help with the economy, but of course people can also apply for Small Business Loans from the SBA. The governor is going to be having more folks come here to help us rebuild, and that’s going to require a lot of work with construction companies, contractors, and folks like us.”


In alignment with Governor Green, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority urges visitors to refrain from going to West Maui (including Lahaina, Nāpili, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua) as a means of respect to the people and places that have been lost in Lahaina during this devastating tragedy.

The Aug. 13 emergency proclamation remains in place, with all nonessential travel to West Maui being strongly discouraged through the month of August.

The impacted area of Lahaina remains off limits to the public as the search and recovery efforts continue.


“We encourage travelers to consider visiting other areas of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena, Pāʻia and Hāna), or other islands such as Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island,” HTA representatives said.

Wednesday’s news conference was livestreamed on Maui Now’s Facebook page.

Elected officials and community leaders who provided crucial updates included Gov. Green, Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen; Maui Emergency Management Administrator Herman Andaya; Maui County Department of Fire and Public Safety Chief Brad Ventura; Maui Police Department Chief John Pelletier; Dual Status Commander of Joint Task Force-50 Brigadier General Stephen Logan; Red Cross Vice President of Disaster Operations and Logistics Brad Kieserman, and US Environmental Protection Agency Incident Commander Steve Calanog.

*This post was updated to include information from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.


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