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IPFS News Link • Hawaiian Islands

'Royally screwed' by government: Hawaii victims 'getting desperate'

•, By Joe Kovacs

Nearly a month after catastrophic wildfires devastated the Hawaiian paradise of Maui, a disturbing mystery remains as hundreds of people, including an unknown number of children, are still missing, while a journalist on the island says local residents are being "royally screwed" by all governments, with some victims arrested for trying to visit their own homes.

At least 115 people were killed in the Aug. 8 blaze that razed the tourist town of Lahaina, making it the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century.

More than 3,000 individuals have reportedly been found safe after being previously unaccounted for, and the latest official figures indicate 385 names on this list are still missing.

While officials hope many on the missing list are fine and just haven't checked in with emergency personnel, there's a palpable fear many are not well.

"We're releasing this list ... because we know it will help the investigation," said Maui Police Chief John Pelletier, in a video message posted online Thursday night. "We're also balancing that because we know when this list comes out, it can and will cause pain for some folks."

He continued: "This is not an easy thing to do, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible."

"We're very thankful for the people who have reached out by phone or email," Steven Merrill, the FBI's special agent in charge in Honolulu, said at a news conference.

"As we get someone off of a list, this has enabled us to devote more resources to those who are still on the list."