The governor of the US archipelago, Josh Green, said on Friday that the initial number of victims from the fires in Hawaii had been revised downwards and had fallen to 97 deaths, compared to the 115 victims previously announced by the authorities.
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“This will help you understand what the defense ministry and all of our medical experts have learned about what we can see in the windows or in the maisons,” when shown in a video post on social networks. . “Thank God fewer people died.”
The Democrat, who was an emergency physician before entering politics, did not provide additional details to understand how the body count could have been mistaken.
He added that so far only 74 people have been identified (out of 97 bodies found), and furthermore, 31 people – compared to several hundred just a few weeks ago – are still missing.
Since the fire that nearly destroyed the tourist town of Lahaina on Maui on Aug. 8, the search for bodies has proven difficult.
The fire reduced thousands of buildings to piles of ash, often making the remains difficult to identify. The authorities asked relatives of the missing persons to provide a DNA sample in the hope of identifying the victims.
The true extent of the tragedy is still unknown.
The management of the authorities, which is the subject of the investigation, has been widely criticized, in particular because the warning sirens, planned in the event of a tsunami, volcanic eruption or fires, were never sounded.
Many Lahaina residents were caught in the fire at the last minute and dozens were forced to throw themselves into the sea to escape the flames.
Some hydrants used by firefighters also ran out of water or pressure.
Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii’s main electricity supplier, is also the target of multiple complaints accusing it of negligence because it did not shut off power despite a clear warning from the weather service.
Before the flames engulfed the former capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the archipelago was on red alert due to violent winds fueled by Hurricane Dora, which was sweeping into the Pacific Ocean a few hundred kilometers offshore.