FEMA on-site in Maui, setting up recovery centers for survivors

FEMA on-site in Maui, setting up recovery centers for survivors

LAHAINA, Hawaii (NewsNation) — As the wildfire emergency response continues in Hawaii, the White House says President Joe Biden remains in close contact with FEMA and the governor of Hawaii.

However, critics of the president’s response are frustrated, saying federal assistance is coming too slowly.

Biden and the first lady will visit Maui next Monday to meet with survivors and first responders. FEMA said the visit will “bring hope to the area.”

But it took days for the president just to comment on the fires that started over a week ago.

The death toll now totals more than 100, with over 1,000 people still missing.

Emergency crews said the wildfires have become the deadliest natural disaster in Hawaii’s history, causing billions of dollars in damage.

Over 600 FEMA staff remained on-site, responding to the disaster Thursday morning, and the agency has approved 1,300 registrations for assistance.

FEMA has also launched a task force, working to open a recovery center to help survivors register for and receive assistance.

Maui resident Josh Bode spoke to NewsNation, describing some of the frustration being felt on the island.

“To get aid here, it takes so long,” Bode said. “It’s like, let’s just get it done. Let’s do this.”

He continued, “Let’s stop thinking about it. Let’s stop talking about it. And let’s get action, right? Words are one thing, but actions are a whole other thing. And that’s the disconnect. It’s between what is said and what is done.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has also issued a 90-day mortgage moratorium for people impacted by the fires.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green says more than half of the area impacted by the fires still needs to be searched. 

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