US Senator Mazie K. Hirono delivered a powerful speech on the Senate floor, commemorating the one-month anniversary of the Maui wildfires. Hirono expressed her condolences for the lives lost, commended the Federal government’s response, and reiterated her commitment to securing resources for the affected communities. She highlighted the devastating impact on the tightknit Lahaina community, emphasizing the loss suffered by business owners, immigrants, and firefighters. Hirono also condemned the spread of disinformation on social media, which hindered residents from accessing federal assistance. She praised the efforts of the Federal Family of Agencies, including FEMA, in providing immediate support and financial assistance to those affected. Hirono stressed the importance of a sustained effort in rebuilding and expressed confidence in the spirit of aloha to see the community through this crisis. The full article provides detailed insights into Hirono’s speech and her ongoing efforts to secure federal assistance for the affected areas.
Hirono delivers remarks on Senate floor, marking one month since Maui wildfires
US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) recently delivered heartfelt remarks on the Senate floor, commemorating the one-month anniversary since wildfires devastated the community of Lahaina and Upcountry Maui. In her speech, Senator Hirono paid tribute to those who tragically lost their lives, praised the Federal government for its robust response, and reaffirmed her commitment to securing the resources needed for Maui County and the Lahaina community to recover from the immense destruction caused by the fires.
Senator Hirono’s remarks and remembrance
During her impassioned speech, Senator Hirono took a moment to remember and honor the individuals whose lives were lost to the devastating wildfires. She highlighted the impact on the tight-knit and proud community of Lahaina, depicting the affected people with reverence and compassion. From longstanding business owners who cherished their family-owned shops and restaurants, to immigrants who sought a better life for themselves and their loved ones on Maui, and the courageous firefighters who risked their lives to protect their beloved town, Lahaina was a place that countless individuals called home.
Condemnation of disinformation on social media
Senator Hirono strongly condemned the spread of disinformation on social media platforms, a nefarious tactic that she believes was propagated by foreign government entities. She denounced the dissemination of false information that discouraged residents from seeking federal disaster assistance and fostered an atmosphere of distrust in the federal government. It is crucial, she argued, to combat this disinformation with an all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure that the survivors of this tragedy can readily access the support they need.
Robust response of the Federal Family of Agencies
Senator Hirono commended the response of the Federal Family of Agencies, such as FEMA, SBA, and numerous others, following the wildfires. She acknowledged their swift action in providing necessary aid and resources to the impacted community. Within days of the fires, FEMA, in collaboration with the governor, mayor, and local entities, successfully relocated thousands of survivors to temporary accommodations such as hotel rooms and AirBNBs. To date, over $50 million in federal assistance has been approved for individuals affected by the wildfires. Furthermore, federal personnel from across the country have played a vital role in search and rescue operations, assisting in the identification of remains amidst the debris.
Senator Hirono’s full remarks
Senator Hirono shared her complete remarks, outlining the significance of the wildfires’ impact on Lahaina and the surrounding areas. She emphasized the cultural and historic value of Lahaina, especially for the Native Hawaiian community. Lahaina’s roots run deep, with homes passed down through generations, and the town itself held immense charm and allure for both residents and visitors. The devastation caused by the wildfire was unfathomable, with significant damage to property and an unimaginable loss of life. Senator Hirono painted a vivid picture of this once vibrant seaside town now silent and desolated.
The impact of the wildfires on the community of Lahaina
The devastation caused by the wildfires cannot be overstated. Lahaina, once a thriving hub of activity, has been reduced to ashes. Over 3,000 structures were destroyed, with nearly 90% of those being residential buildings. The historic Front Street, adorned with approximately 700 businesses, was leveled by the blazing inferno. Tragically, the fires claimed the lives of 115 individuals, and 385 people remain unaccounted for. The pain, anguish, and trauma experienced by the affected community are immeasurable. Survivors, who managed to escape with only a backpack of belongings, are coping with immense loss and uncertainty. The physical and emotional toll on residents is staggering, with many struggling to even leave their rooms, traumatized by the magnitude of the catastrophe.
Disinformation and distrust in the federal government
Adding to the already overwhelming situation, Senator Hirono shed light on the disturbing issue of disinformation being circulated on social media, allegedly orchestrated by foreign government entities. Misinformation campaigns have targeted Maui residents, dissuading them from seeking help from FEMA for disaster assistance and sowing seeds of doubt regarding the federal government’s intentions. Senator Hirono stressed the importance of combatting this disinformation to ensure survivors have accurate information and can access the federal support they desperately need.
The cost and resources needed for rebuilding
The financial toll of the wildfires is staggering. Initial estimates put the damage caused by the fires at more than $5 billion, with an additional $10 billion needed for the substantial task of rebuilding Lahaina. Reconstruction efforts will require considerable time, resources, and a sustained commitment to address the challenges ahead. The process of rebuilding a community as vibrant and culturally significant as Lahaina demands unwavering dedication.
The federal government’s response and assistance
Senator Hirono commended the Federal Family of Agencies for their prompt and robust response to the wildfires. Over 25 federal agencies, including FEMA, SBA, HHS, HUD, and DOD, have deployed more than 1,000 personnel to assist in the recovery efforts. FEMA, in coordination with state and local authorities, swiftly provided temporary housing solutions for survivors, approving more than $50 million in federal assistance for affected individuals. Federal personnel have been instrumental in search and rescue operations, providing crucial support in sifting through the wreckage and identifying those who lost their lives.
The long-term effort and commitment to recovery and rebuilding
Rebuilding a community the size of Lahaina demands long-term commitment and continuous effort. It is a process that cannot be accomplished overnight. Drawing parallels to previous disasters like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, Senator Hirono emphasized the need for continuity in the recovery process. The road to recovery will be arduous, necessitating sustained cooperation between local, state, and federal agencies. However, amidst the devastation, the spirit of “aloha”—characterized by love, kindness, and care for one another—persists. It is this profound spirit that has brought the community together during this crisis, and Senator Hirono firmly believes it will guide them through the recovery process.
Hirono’s commitment to fighting for federal assistance
Senator Hirono assured the community of Lahaina that she, along with her colleagues in the Hawaii congressional delegation, stands united in fighting for the necessary federal assistance. Following the fires in Lahaina, the delegation urgently appealed to President Biden to swiftly provide federal resources and approve a presidential disaster declaration. In addition, Senator Hirono has actively advocated for additional federal actions to support mental health, child care, and language services for survivors. Her commitment to the residents of Lahaina is unwavering, underlining her dedication to ensuring their full recovery and rebuilding in accordance with their aspirations and needs.
In conclusion, Senator Hirono’s remarks on the Senate floor one month after the devastating wildfires in Lahaina reflect her deep empathy for the affected community and her unwavering commitment to securing the resources necessary for recovery and rebuilding. Her comprehensive speech shed light on the impact of the wildfires, the spread of disinformation, and the Federal Family of Agencies’ response to the crisis. While the road to recovery will be long and challenging, Senator Hirono’s dedication to fighting for federal assistance and supporting the Lahaina community remains resolute. Through unity, resilience, and the spirit of aloha, Lahaina will rise from the ashes and rebuild itself stronger than ever before.