Officials have only identified five victims from the deadly Maui wildfires (Pictures: AP / REUTERS / EPA)
Only five victims of the deadly wildfires on Maui have been identified, officials said.
Hawaii is still reeling from the devastating wildfire that burned down the historic town of Lahaina last week. As of Wednesday, the Lahaina fire was about 85% contained.
So far, officials have recovered the remains of 106 victims of the wildfire. However, only 35% of the land in Lahaina had been searched, Governor Josh Green said in an update.
As of Wednesday, only five of those victims have been positively identified.
Dozens of destroyed houses sit empty in a seaside neighborhood in Lahaina (Picture: EPA)
The burned remains of a home in Lahaina (Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The first two victims were identified on Tuesday. Robert Dyckman, 74, and Buddy Jantoc, 79, were both killed in the fire. Both were residents of Lahaina.
‘We offer our deepest condolences to the families who are beginning to receive notifications about their loved ones,’ Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said. ‘As a community, we offer our prayers of comfort in this most difficult time.’
Officials said a three more victims have also been identified, but their names were withheld pending notification of their next-of-kin.
A team of 35 specialized search-and-rescue personnel and 20 cadaver dogs are currently combing through the rubble in Lahaina. Governor Green is hoping the majority of the remaining search will be completed over the weekend.
A sign reads ‘Tourist Keep Out’ near the entrance to Lahaina (Picture: EPA)
Volunteers unload ice and cooler donations at a distribution center for those affected by the Maui fires at Honokawai Beach Park in Napili-Honokowai (Picture: YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)
Identification is proving a challenge due to the severe burns covering many of the victims. Workers are now making plans to begin identifying victims based on genetic profiles.
‘We’re asking all of our loved friends and family in the area who have any concern to go get swabbed at the family support center so that we can match people genetically,’ Governor Green told CNN.
Meanwhile, the wildfire left thousands of Maui residents homeless overnight. Over 2,700 structures in Lahaina were destroyed in the blaze, according to the most up-to-date estimates.
Over 1,000 hotel rooms have been provided to temporarily house survivors, as well as another 1,000 rooms or rental properties from AirBnB.
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