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More than 1,000 people remain missing for after
deadly fires ravaged Hawaiian town of Lahaina
Two weeks after wildfires ravaged the Hawaiian town of Lahaina, the list of those
missing has topped 1,000, and investigators fear many of the victims will never be
According to the ABC, the popular tourist hub on the island of Maui was almost
completely destroyed when fire ripped through the area on August 8, killing at
least 115 people.
In an update from local authorities on Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday AEST), Maui
County mayor Richard Bissen acknowledged that the task of tracking down all of
those still missing was growing increasingly desperate.
FBI officials said the number of people who had been "reported unaccounted for"
had grown to between 1,000 and 1,100.
The growing list is a complex puzzle to solve, with some people identified by a
single name, others missing data such as birth dates or genders, and a possibility
of duplicate reports of the same people.
"We want to get a verified list. The 1,100 names right now, we know that there's a
margin of [error] … so we're trying to scrub this to make it as accurate as we can,"
police chief John Pelletier said.
The number of tourists on the island at the time of the blaze, as well as Maui's
substantial homeless population, could also be complicating factors for
identifying the missing.
Tourists may have fled the fires unaware that authorities were searching for them,
while locals without a fixed address may be harder to trace.
Officials have asked relatives of those who remain missing to come forward with
DNA samples to help speed up the work to identify remains.
Recovery teams with cadaver dogs have already scoured the town's single-storey
residential properties, and are moving onto multi-storey residential and
"We do have extreme concerns that because of the temperature of the fire, the
remains of those who have died, in some cases, may be impossible to recover
meaningfully. So there are going to be people that are lost forever," Hawaii's
Governor Josh Green said earlier this week.
Adelaide, South Australia