President Biden approves disaster declaration for Hawai’i fires

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President Joe Biden declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Hawai‘i and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the ongoing wildfires that began on August 8.

His action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Maui County. The assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, as well as other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the wildfires.

Federal funding also will be available to state and eligible county governments, as well as to certain private, nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis, for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Maui County. Assistance for emergency protective measures for Hawai‘i County also will be made available.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. 


The White House statement indicated that Maona N. Ngwira of FEMA has been appointed to coordinate federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released the following statement on President Biden’s approval of a presidential disaster declaration that will bring significant relief to communities on Maui and Hawai‘i Island impacted by the ongoing fires.

“This is a tragic day for everyone in Hawai‘i and the nation. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and the survivors suffering through the deadliest natural disaster the state has seen in generations,” Green said.


“In the coming days — as more and more details emerge — I ask that we as a state provide all the emotional and financial support we can to the people of Lāhainā and Maui. As governor of the State of Hawai‘i, I pledge to spare no resources to combat the destructive wildfires, shelter the displaced, treat and bring comfort to the traumatized, support our first responders, restore communication lines and enlist the aid of our federal and county partners to confront this this once-in-a-lifetime catastrophe,” he said.

“Recovering from these devastating fires will take significant time and resources, and we need all the federal support we can get. I thank the Biden Administration for moving fast to approve this disaster declaration. It will unlock federal resources and help our state and county governments respond to and recover from these fires and help the people of Maui and Hawai‘i Island.”

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