Hawaii Governor Josh Green said during an interview over the weekend that more than 1,000 people are still unaccounted for following the devastating Maui fire that struck the small town of Lahaina.
This tragedy has been designated as the deadliest fire in the U.S. in over a century with well over 100 lives confirmed lost. There is growing criticism for the lack of response from President Joe Biden.
Margaret Brennan, host of CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” asked Green on Sunday, “how many are still unaccounted for, and how long will it take to identify remains?”
“More than 1,000 are unaccounted for, about 1,050. It will take several weeks still,” Green said. “Some of the challenges are going to be extraordinary. As you reported, 85 percent of the — of the land of the impact zone has been covered now by what amounts to an army of search and rescue teams and 41 dogs. So, 85 percent of the land has been covered.”
“Now we go into the larger buildings, which require peeling back some of the floors and structures,” he continued. “That last 15 percent could take weeks. We do have extreme concerns that, because of the temperature of the fire, the remains of those who have died, in some cases, may be impossible to recover meaningfully.”
The governor said that there are going to be people that will never be found because of how intense the fire was. He promised viewers that state officials were doing everything they could with the FBI to try to identify any remains that are found.
The fire is the latest in a series of natural disasters to hit Hawaii in recent years. In 2018, a series of earthquakes and tsunamis caused widespread damage on the island of Oahu.
The state has also been hit by a number of hurricanes, including Hurricane Lane in 2018, which was the most powerful hurricane to hit Hawaii in decades.
The repeated natural disasters have put a strain on Hawaii’s resources and have led to calls for the state to do more to prepare for future disasters.
Green has said that he is committed to doing everything he can to help the people of Maui recover from the fire.