The death toll in Maui wildfires has risen to 99 after a ‘fire hurricane’ spread across the central Hawaiian island last week.
As of this writing, over 1,000 people remain missing and the officials fear the death toll could double in the following days.
“We are prepared for many tragic stories. They will find 10 to 20 people per day, probably, until they finish. And it’s probably going to take 10 days. It’s impossible to guess, really,” Hawaii Governor Josh Green said.
The Maui wildfire has since been branded as the deadliest fire in modern US history. While firefighters scramble to contain the blaze, rescuers are sweeping through scorched populated areas like the town of Lahaina in search of survivors.
Due to the extent of damage and difficulty of the search, the rescuers have so far only managed to cover some 3% of the area they have to search.
“There are more fatalities that will come. The fire was so hot that what we find is the tragic finding that you would imagine… It’s hard to recognize anybody. But they’re able to determine if someone did perish,” Green said on Sunday.
“The buildings are almost nonexistent. It was so hot that even metal contorted so that you can’t believe what the building was.
“But that’s what you see, and obviously there will not be any survivors in the area left. They’ve either escaped and escaped that night and now as we put up some temporary cell capacity, people are calling each other.”
In a grim address to the nation, the governor added: “Look, our hearts will break, beyond repair perhaps, if that means that many more dead. None of us think that, but we are prepared for many tragic stories.”
Our thoughts remain with the victims of the Maui wildfires during this challenging time.