FEMA, Federal Partners Provide Critical Aid to Hawaii Wildfire Response and Recovery Efforts

Release Date Release Number
Release Date:
August 13, 2023

WASHINGTON --  As fire containment efforts continue in Hawaii, FEMA is working with its federal partners to provide immediate relief and lend support to the state-led and locally executed mission on the ground. More than 250 FEMA staff are deployed and leveraging partner agency expertise to help Hawaii residents and communities jumpstart their recovery.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell and U.S. Small Business Administration Associate Administrator Francisco Sànchez, Jr. surveyed catastrophic damage on the island today, as field assessments, initial debris assessments and housing inspections are underway. 

As of Aug. 13, 2023: 

  • More than 250 FEMA personnel are deployed to assist Hawaii residents in their greatest time of need, including 45 Disaster Survivor Assistance staff who are visiting shelters in Maui to help survivors register for assistance and identify and report any critical needs.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service approved Hawaii’s request for impacted Child Nutrition Programs and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. The USDA is also coordinating pet reunification activities on the ground and is assessing ability to supply food and water to large animals in Lahaina. 
  • The U.S. Department of State granted a fee waiver for people who lost their U.S. passport book or passport card as a result of the wildfires in Hawaii. 
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved a public health emergency effective Aug. 8 through Nov. 6, which provides greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in Hawaii.
  • The American Red Cross and Maui County continue to staff and support six shelters where food, water, hygiene kits and other essential resources are provided to survivors who are unable to return home. Since the fires began, the Red Cross and partners have provided almost 2,900 overnight shelter stays. As of today, approximately 240 Red Cross personnel are responding or actively deploying and around 100 volunteers are participating in a virtual call center to assist with shelter registrations.
  • FEMA mission assigned debris management and temporary emergency power to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to help clear up roads and stabilize electric service as well as the Environmental Protection Agency for household hazardous waste removal activities that are essential to begin recovery work in the impacted areas. USACE also completed its initial hazardous materials assessment in Maui. 
  • Hawaiian Electric restored additional circuits in West Maui and crews completed the installation of a mobile substation at the Lahainaluna substation, which is expected to help restore power to customers in the neighboring subdivisions. 
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is actively conducting assessments of critical infrastructure and communications systems and coordinating with private sector partners to establish temporary communications solutions. 
  • Hawaii National Guard has staff in Maui with another 200 staff expected in the coming days to support Maui Police Department safety and security activities in the impacted areas.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has flight restrictions in place in Maui to assist emergency response efforts. 
  • The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting underwater surveys of the Lahaina harbor using sonar technology to identify structural damage. 
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration 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. More information is available by calling the Honolulu office: 808-541-2990 or visiting sba.gov.

Maui County residents are encouraged to register for federal assistance by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov, through the FEMA App, calling 1-800-621-3362 or with in-person with FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance staff.  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, Hawaii residents and tourists should continue to monitor instructions from local authorities. 

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

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