Sixty survivors found alive sheltering in Maui home as search enters ninth day


Sixty survivors of the Mauiwildfires have been rescued from a single home that had been cut off since wildfires swept through the Hawaiian island, officials say.

The large group had sheltered in an isolated residence in western Maui that had been without electricity and cell phone coverage since 8 August, Maui County mayor Richard Bisset said.

“We discovered yesterday that there was a family that was housing 60 people at a home on the west side, and many of those folks were unaccounted for, and they’ve now been reunited with their families,” Mr Bisset said.

The group were without phones, power and internet, according to Maui police chief John Pelletier.

No further details were immediately available about the survivors’ conditions or where they were found.

As the painstaking search and rescue efforts continue, officials estimate that 1,300 Maui residents remain unaccounted for.

Hundreds of specialist Federal Emergency Management Agency officers have arrived on the island, along with at least 40 cadaver dogs, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said at a White House briefing on Wednesday.

“We’re working carefully to search the affected areas thoroughly and compassionately while respecting all of the cultural sensitivities.”

Maui was facing a “very long and hard recovery”, she added.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) had paid out $2.3m to displaced households, but only 1,300 families had signed up for the payments, Ms Criswell said.

Assistance was available for emergency payments for house repairs, cars and appliances, and Ms Criswell urged anyone impacted by the wildfires to sign up at Fema’s website or by calling 1-800- 621-3362.

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