The Biden-Harris Administration has mobilized a robust whole-of-government response effort to support immediate and long-term rescue and recovery efforts in Maui, Hawaii. Since the onset of the horrific fires in Maui, dozens of Federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security through FEMA and the Coast Guard, the Department of Defense through the Navy and Army, the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have been working with state and local partners on the ground to assess ongoing needs and providing resources and personnel to support response efforts.
Last Thursday, within hours of the devastating fires, President Biden signed a Major Disaster Declaration for Hawaii, and as President Biden told Governor Josh Green, the Federal Government stands ready to provide additional assistance to ensure the state recovers. This weekend, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman surveyed catastrophic damage on the island and hosted a local press conference to reiterate the Administration’s commitment to supporting impacted communities, however long it may take.
The Administration continues to encourage individuals impacted by the disaster to register for Federal assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
More on the coordinated federal response:
- There are almost 500 Federal personnel deployed to Maui to assist residents in their greatest time of need.
- In the immediate aftermath of the fires, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy supported maritime search and rescue operations, and U.S. Army helicopters supported fire suppression efforts on the Big Island.
- As fire containment efforts continue, FEMA and its Federal partners continue response efforts. FEMA has deployed more than 140 Urban Search and Rescue personnel who have integrated with the Maui Fire Department to help conduct rescue operations.
- In Maui, FEMA has provided 50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots and 10,000 blankets and shelter supplies to the county government for distribution.
- FEMA has also authorized Critical Needs Assistance (CNA) which provides a onetime payment of $700 per household to applicants who were displaced from their homes and have critical needs. CNA provides for lifesaving and life-sustaining items such as water, food, prescriptions, personal hygiene items, and fuel for transportation.
- The Small Business Administration has dozens of staff on the island and has begun making low-interest Federal disaster loans available to Hawaii businesses, homeowners, renters, and nonprofits.
- 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 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. FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Team members are deploying to shelters and helping people register for Federal assistance. Those affected by the fires may visit a Red Cross shelter to get a hot meal, charge their phone and access other essential support.
- Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra approved a Public Health Emergency effective retroactively from August 8 through November 6, 2023.
- In addition, 17 specialists from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team are on Maui, with additional teams en route to assist the state.
- Local and national Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs) are providing emergency assistance to survivors. Those seeking to donate to the recovery efforts, can do so by visiting www.hawaiistatevoad.org.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping clear roads, stabilizing electric service and working with the Environmental Protection Agency on the removal of hazardous waste essential to recovery work in the affected areas.
- The U.S. Forest Service Incident Management Teams and Wildfire Liaisons integrated with the State to help identify resources, equipment, and additional personnel needed to fully extinguish the fires and prevent flare-ups.
- The U.S. Fire Administration is also working with local fire departments to identify what support is needed for firefighting personnel and their families who were also affected by this disaster, as they continue to heroically battle these blazes.
- The Department of Defense, through U.S. INDOPACOM, is actively supporting the Federal response by helping move supplies across the State and is providing assistance with fire suppression activities.
- U.S. INDOPACOM is also taking actions to move their response command and control personnel forward to the island of Maui.