Japan to give Hawaii $2 million in aid as wildfire death toll tops 100

by Aug 17, 2023Featured Article, News

Japan’s government said Wednesday it will extend $2 million as humanitarian aid to Hawaii to help with the damage caused by recent wildfires on the U.S. state’s Maui Island, as the death toll from the disaster has topped 100.

The assistance, to be offered through organizations including the American Red Cross, is intended for evacuation site safety, food delivery and psychological support for those affected by the fires that first broke out on Aug 8, among other purposes.

“Japan and Hawaii have enjoyed a friendly relationship over the years and been engaging in active exchanges in various fields,” Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters.

Of the total aid, $1.5 million will be given to the American Red Cross, and the rest will be provided through the Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Japan Platform.

Hayashi also vowed Tokyo’s continued support “toward the earliest possible recovery” of the devastated areas.

The Foreign Ministry has received reports that houses of some Japanese residents on Maui have been damaged, but there is no confirmation yet of any harm to Japanese citizens, Hayashi said.

According to Japan’s consulate general in Honolulu, several hundred Japanese nationals have been residing on the island.

The Japanese government’s supportive measure was announced after local authorities said Tuesday the death toll from the Maui wildfires had reached 106.

The fires are the deadliest natural disaster in the United States since a 1918 blaze killed hundreds in Minnesota, according to U.S. media reports.

In a television interview aired Monday, Hawaii Gov Josh Green said around 1,300 people remain unaccounted for following the fires. The county government said Tuesday about 32 percent of the area affected by the disaster had been searched.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden will travel to Maui on Monday to meet survivors and local officials, according to the White House.

An estimated $5.52 billion will be required to rebuild affected areas in Lahaina, where most of the buildings impacted were residential, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has said.