On Thursday, even as the shelter started to fill up, a queue of at least 100 automobiles stretched in the direction of Maui’s War Memorial Stadium.
After wildfires tore through the Hawaiian island, scorching entire neighborhoods and leaving many residents without a place to stay, hundreds of evacuees came here and established up camp.
Despite the heat, volunteers have been working to create a welcoming environment by providing local goodies like shaved ice. But the situation is still difficult.
Many others are sleeping on bare cots and air mattresses because they must bring their own bedding to the shelter. Oprah Winfrey, a talk show star who spends part of her time in Maui, provided pillows and other supplies after observing the needs of the population.
Tom Leonard has spent 44 years calling Lahaina home. He informed the BBC that he had lost all of his belongings and had been residing at the shelter for the last two days. He doesn’t know where he’ll go next.
The loved ones who haven’t been heard from are more worrying than the loss of belongings. For some people, there is even a sensation of guilt present.
It’s claimed that hundreds are missing. At least 55 people have passed away, and more are likely to do so.
Mobile coverage on the island has been erratic, which has made it more difficult to reach loved ones.
At the shelter, people are doing what they can by writing the names of their loved ones and their contact information on the whiteboards, which are getting ever more crowded.
Ellie Erickson, a Maui resident, established a Google spreadsheet to crowdsource search attempts. Thousands of names have already been added to the list, despite the fact that she only revealed it on Wednesday morning. Some names have a green “found” marker, while others have a red “not located” marker.
People have only rumors to depend on to determine whether their neighbors and acquaintances are still alive because the identities of the deceased have not yet been confirmed.
Louise Abihai, the great-grandmother of Chelsey Vierra, resides in the Hale Mahaolu assisted living community. She admitted to not knowing whether or not she was fine to the Associated Press.
She is without a phone. Her age, according to Ms. Vierra, is 97. She is mobile. She is powerful.
Leomana Turalde, 36, told USA Today that if you didn’t get in touch with your family by sundown yesterday, you’re still trying to find out where they are. He has several aunts who reside close to Lahaina’s well-known Front Street, which took the brunt of the flooding.
On Wednesday morning, one of them vanished.
Les Munn, 42, who was at the shelter, remembers packing his possessions as the hurricane’s gusts started to approach land. Then, the structure around him caught fire. He remarked, “Everything went black,” as the smoke started to stream in.
I sprinted up and started knocking on my neighbors’ doors. He continued, sounding baffled by their choice, “And some of them wouldn’t come out.”
He eventually hurried outside, peered through the thick black smoke at a blue light from a police cruiser, then dashed and leapt into the back of the car. He stated from his cot in the shelter, “And that’s how I made it through.”
He said that he had not seen any of his neighbors in the shelter and that he was worried about them.
“I don’t know their fate,” he said. “I don’t know if they survived.”
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