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Death toll reaches 480 in Maui fires, locals claim

 August 19, 2023

Residents of Lahaina in Hawaii are grappling with a horrific tragedy as wildfires continue to wreak havoc on the island.

Local sources insist that the actual death toll has escalated to at least 480, significantly higher than the official count of 111, as the Daily Mail reported.

The Desperate Search

The tragic discrepancy is leading to desperate measures, with survivors left to recover the charred remains of their family members as morgue workers run out of body bags.

Maui mayor Richard Bissen acknowledged that only 25% of the town had been searched as of Tuesday but anticipated this figure to rise to 85% by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, photographs taken by the media indicate that numerous vehicles remain unexamined, leaving locals frustrated with the sluggish pace of search and rescue operations.

The Struggle of Locals and Accusations of Inaction

Allisen Medina, 24, a resident of Maui for five years, has been actively helping burned-out residents, and she voiced her frustration in an interview.

According to Medina, the death toll is severely underreported, and the authorities are doing too little to support the community.

The local resident expressed disbelief at the lack of action from the government and relief organizations, calling for transparency and swift action.

Medina also criticized emergency services for not activating Maui's emergency sirens and vented her anger at FEMA and the American Red Cross, accusing them of not doing enough and being slow in distributing aid.

Other Voices Confirming the Tragedy

Additional stories corroborate Medina's claims. Southwest flight attendant Sarah Trost shared details of a conversation she had with a part-time morgue worker who confirmed the death toll of 480.

The morgue employee, who is volunteering in the search, also described finding scores of bodies, adding that many were families – including young children -- who had died at home in each other's' arms, unable to escape the flames.

Trost said, "He found so many children, children and moms holding each other. Infants, toddlers, the unimaginable. Husbands and wives, whole entire [families] in a room just huddling together, burning to death."

The Dire Situation and the Road Ahead

The condition of the bodies, many of which were left unrecognizable by the fire, has prompted authorities to request DNA submissions from friends and family of over 1,000 missing persons.

As of Thursday, only five individuals had been formally identified.

Mobile morgues have been deployed, with refrigerated trucks parked outside the Maui Police Department morgue office to handle the overflow of remains.

While the community battles through this devastation, Medina hopes to accelerate support and recovery operations, allowing locals time to grieve.

She emphasized that this will be a long road and urged for continued help in the rebuilding process, stating, "If they want to come here, I hope they will continue to support us in the long run."