The president says federal funding will cover all debris removal and other emergency protective measures.

President Joe Biden on Friday authorized a high level of federal funding for debris removal and other emergency measures resulting from the Aug. 8 wildfires that decimated most of Lahaina and parts of Upcountry Maui.

The president’s order provides federal funds for 100% of the total eligible costs of debris removal for a continuous 180-day period of the state’s choosing within nine months of the disaster. He also approved federal funds for emergency protecive measures that include direct federal assistance at 100% of the total eligible costs for a continuous 90-day period of the state’s choosing between now and February.

President Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Gov. Josh Green and his wife, Jaime Green walk down Front Street in Lahaina, Monday. (Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2023)
President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Gov. Josh Green and his wife, Jaime Green, toured Front Street in Lahaina last month. (Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2023)

Gov. Josh Green requested the additional adjustment ot the cost share for Hawaii’s disaster declaration. The determination was made due to the significant costs Maui County and Hawaii would otherwise bear for emergency protective measures related to sheltering survivors and distributing necessities including food and water as well as debris removal which will likely continue for several months, according to a White House official.

“This is a significant amount of money,” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement Friday. “By covering the full cost of debris removal for at least six months, the federal government will help the state and county save hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The fires killed at least 97 people in Lahaina and destroyed some 2,200 structures, the vast majority homes. In Upcountry, the fires destroyed 19 homes. Thousands of people were displaced as a result.

On Friday, the Maui Police Department released a list of 22 people who have been reported unaccounted for since the disaster.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

Support Civil Beat during the season of giving.

As a small nonprofit newsroom, our mission is powered by readers like you. But did you know that less than 1% of readers donate to Civil Beat?

Give today and support local journalism that helps to inform, empower and connect.

About the Author