Hawaii Wildfires

Hawaii Wildfires

Airlink's Impact

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NGO partners supported
Responders sent
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Aid supplies delivered (lbs)
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Cargo pipeline (tons)

Reports

SitRep #1

Situation overview

Airlink is responding to the ongoing wildfires that have tragically claimed over 100 lives in Hawaii. Maui is bearing the brunt of the fires, and the Lahaina community in western Maui, which is home to approximately 12,000 people, now stands largely in ruins, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of families. The repercussions have been profound, with more than 250 structures either damaged or utterly destroyed, transforming entire sections of Lahaina – once a historical cornerstone as the former capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Relentless flames have devastated cultural and religious sites that have held significance for centuries. This catastrophe also serves as a stark and pressing reminder of the imperative to safeguard indigenous communities from the repercussions of climate change. 

Fueled by the winds of Hurricane Dora, the outbreak of fires is attributed to the combination of parched dry conditions and gusty winds. Evacuation efforts on Wednesday were marked by urgency, as thousands escaped, including some who jumped into the ocean to flee the flames. More than 50 people who fled flames by running into ocean were rescued by Coast Guard.

These fires have brought about severe disruptions in cellular and power services, intensifying the challenges of emergency communications. Local hospitals are grappling with an influx of burn victims and individuals suffering from smoke inhalation. With over 2,000 people now seeking shelter in emergency facilities across the island, the extent of displacement is overwhelming. Search and rescue efforts are also ongoing.

Disaster Response. Step One.
Get There. 

Airlink is working with its NGO and airline partners to provide free-of-charge flights for responding personnel to reach communities in Maui. The first supported group will be ITDRC whose volunteers will be working to mobilize an Assessment Team with initial communications resources to establish WiFi connectivity in 4 shelters in Maui. As additional partners respond, Airlink will assist their travel to provide immediate relief, in addition to later-stage debris removal, sheltering, and recovery once the wildfires are contained. On the cargo movement side, Airlink is receiving incoming requests from partners and is so far working to send 30 pallets of aid over the coming weeks.

Challenges include that there is only one airport serviced by major airlines (OGG) on Maui. Additionally, responders must wait until fires are controlled and roads are passable for both responders and civilians to be able to return to affected areas.

Airlink brings prior expertise in wildfire response, demonstrated through ongoing response efforts to the Nova Scotia, Canada wildfires, the Lytton Creek Fires (2021), and the lethal bushfires in Australia during 2020.

Donate now: Communities in Maui and throughout Hawaii need our help

The numbers are staggering – countless people without power, seeking shelter, and grappling with severe medical injuries. Can we count on your support to help us swiftly deliver the vital aid and assistance they urgently need?

Response Partners