As many of you know, the Vacation Countdown App is based on the island of O’ahu in Hawai’i. We are devastated to hear about the wildfires currently ravaging the beautiful island of Maui, with the historic town of Lahaina facing immense destruction. The lush landscapes, iconic landmarks, and tight-knit communities that have long been the pride of Maui are now under grave threat.
As members of the larger Hawaiian ‘ohana (family), we at the Vacation Countdown App feel a deep connection to our neighboring island and its residents. Now, more than ever, they need our collective support. In this article, we will outline ways you can lend a hand to those affected and play a part in the recovery and rebuilding efforts. Your kokua (help) can make a significant difference during these challenging times.
The Current Wildfire Situation in Maui
On Wednesday, Maui experienced a significant wildfire. Confirmed reports mention at least six fatalities and numerous injuries. Due to the rapid spread of the flames, some residents, in an attempt to find safety, had to resort to drastic measures, including seeking refuge in the ocean.
Lahaina, known for its bustling activities, has severely damaged structures and establishments. Concurrent power outages have further complicated the situation. It’s worth noting that a combination of specific land and atmospheric conditions, accentuated by winds from Hurricane Dora, played a role in the rapid escalation of this fire.
Local Relief and Support Efforts
Immediate necessities for the residents include shelter, medical aid, and basic supplies. With many faced with loss and displacement, several organizations are mobilizing resources and efforts to assist.
How to Donate and Support Maui Wildfire Relief Effort
As Maui faces the devastating impact of wildfires, there are meaningful ways to help, even from a distance.
Hawaii Salvation Army
The Salvation Army of Hawaii is reaching out for financial contributions and substantial meal donations from certified kitchens and restaurants. These contributions will be utilized to provide mass meals in Maui relief shelters.
“The most impactful way the public can assist is through monetary donations,” states Victor Leonardi, the Divisional Director of Emergency Services & Safety for The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division. He ensures that all funds earmarked for disaster relief are used exclusively for disaster operations.
To make your donation, please visit Hawaii.SalvationArmy.org.
Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund
The Maui Strong Fund is dedicated to assisting Maui communities that have been impacted by recent wildfires. This includes both immediate response and longer-term recovery initiatives.
To offer your support, you can donate on their official website.
Maui Mutual Aid Initiative
The Maui Mutual Aid Initiative is actively gathering tangible and financial aid to assist those affected directly by the wildfire calamity. The initiative ensures: “Every penny will reach the most vulnerable ‘Ohana,” emphasizing support for the disabled, uninsured, and tenants.
You can offer your support by donating through PayPal
Maui Food Bank
Numerous residents have been forced from their homes, leaving them without essential food supplies. Many have faced employment disruptions due to the wildfires, while others are grappling with increased costs from the crisis’s aftermath. The fires have also potentially impacted local supermarkets, eateries, and distribution channels.
However, food banks like the Maui Food Bank stand ready to step in and ensure no one faces hunger.
The Maui Food Bank urges individuals to contribute online, aiding them in offering prompt help to those affected. Their team is diligently working to offer relief, and continued backing will be essential in the forthcoming weeks.
Donate to Maui Food Bank
Travel & Tourism Considerations
Beyond the immediate concerns for residents, Maui’s tourism industry faces challenges. Major hotels near the wildfire zones, such as the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa at Ka’anapali Beach and Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, have been impacted, with some lacking power. Several airlines, including Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, and United, offer travel waivers for those heading to Maui, allowing changes without penalties. The Hawaii Department of Transportation strongly discourages non-essential travel to Maui at present.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation has confirmed that Kahului Airport remains operational but has urged travelers to show patience. For more efficient navigation, the department has provided alternative routes to reach the airport.
Read the emergency proclamation by acting Gov. Sylvia Luke.
There’s no need for major adjustments for those contemplating travel to other Hawaiian islands, as hotels and tours on these islands are functioning normally. For those considering a trip to Maui in the near future, it might be best to adopt a “wait and see” approach,
Help Maui Stand Strong: Every Contribution Counts
Times of adversity highlight the significance of community and collective support. We urge our users to stay informed and consider ways to assist. Every contribution, regardless of its size, aids in the recovery process.
Footage of The Maui Wildfires