MAUI, HI (WFXR) — As officials work to get a financial sense of what’s going on, recovery efforts continue. Non-profits far and wide are sending help including the American Red Cross. WFXR introduced you to Danielle Englund.
Danielle Englund, Preparedness Manager for the Virginia Region of the Red Cross, a couple of weeks ago as she prepared to leave for the island. We caught up with her via Zoom for an update on the recovery efforts.
“You’ll see just a swath of completely burned-out homes and cars. There’s nothing but stones left nothing but foundation, and right next to it will be a perfectly fine house,” said Englund.
Englund described the parts that were ruined to be devastating. From what she could tell, she said a lot of the damage was in the Lahaina, a historic and much-visited section of the island. She says roads into that part are blocked off and even partially blockaded with a wall.
Over the past few days, Englund says the Red Cross has been moving around 3,000 people out of congregational centers like gyms into more comfortable hotels that haven’t been damaged, so they can have some privacy. She shared Camp Maluhia, a Boy Scout Camp, has graciously allowed the Red Cross volunteers to stay while efforts are underway.
“The Red Cross really hasn’t had a mass casualty event of this size like this since 9/11. The number of people who are still missing and have already been considered dead is huge.
And of course that takes a toll on the responder’s health and of course hearing those stories can be very difficult,” said Englund.
Crews are working to restore power throughout, as well as working internet and satellite.
She says temporary cell towers have been up by companies like Verizon and T-Mobile. Englund said what she finds truly remarkable is not just the work outsiders are doing, but what the people of Hawaii are doing for themselves.
“To have lost everything and still choose to gack to your neighbors instead of wallowing in self-pity and just thinking about all of the bad things that happened to you — instead, just walking into and asking how can I help is incredible,” said Englund.
Englund says 3,000 people in Maui have volunteered, and 3,000 more were added statewide.
“I have met people who have changed my life and are changing how I do my job, and changing the way I connect to people, but also changing my understanding of Hawaii — of its culture,” shared Englund.
The Red Cross is always seeking new volunteers as well as monetary donations if you are looking to help out.