My name is Colton West and I am from the West Side of Maui. Recently, our island was struck by a series of devastating fires, triggered by hurricane-force winds just a few days ago. Among the affected areas, my hometown of Lahaina was hit hard. The timing couldn't have been worse – the power outage earlier that day, coupled with conflicting reports about the fire being contained, plunged Lahaina into chaos and uncertainty.
Despite initial assurances of containment, the fires proved to be relentless, fueled by the powerful hurricane winds and the dry environment. The flames spread rapidly, catching everyone off guard. As news of the fire's escalation spread, people scrambled to escape with whatever they could gather on a moment's notice. The smoke was suffocating, disorienting those attempting to find their way to safety. Many were forced to abandon their vehicles as roads became impassable, obstructed by flames, fallen trees, and toppled power lines. Tragically, some individuals attempted to escape the fire by jumping in the ocean off Front Street, and drowned due to the rough waters of the hurricane weather.
In a span of just 16+ hours, the inferno engulfed countless homes, businesses, and acres of land. The destruction wreaked havoc on personal and real property, amounting to losses totaling hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. As of right now, a confirmed 55 lives have been claimed. Families were uprooted from their homes, left with nothing but the clothes on their backs, a heart-wrenching change that occurred within mere hours.
At this very moment, many are stranded on Maui's West Side, grappling with the daunting challenges of securing their next meal and a place to sleep. All while mourning the loss of loved ones and the incineration of their cherished hometown, they face dire shortages of essentials such as gasoline, food, and water. The roads leading to this part of the island remain closed off by military and law enforcement personnel, rendering families and friends unable to deliver the vital supplies needed by those in need.
The situation on Maui has left its people very vulnerable, and we are reaching out for YOUR SUPPORT. Whether you've had the pleasure of visiting Hawai’i, or aspire to do so, or can empathize with the suffering of our community, a humble contribution of just $5 could make a world of difference. Lahaina needs the help of others– your contribution, no matter the size, will leave an indelible impact and we are incredibly thankful for the help we can get!
- Victoria Erfle
- Victor Rojas
- Mary Heun
- Autumn Hackney