Residents jumping into the ocean to escape the fires, others watching, terrified, the flames surround the vehicle in which they were fleeing: fires burn Wednesday August 9 the American archipelago of Hawaii, where the state of emergency was declared and evacuations were ordered. Fueled by strong winds, the fires on the islands of Maui and Hawaii have devoured homes and businesses, particularly in the tourist town of Lahaina, according to testimonies and videos circulating on social networks.
According to Vice Governor Sylvia Luke, the hospital network on Maui was ” exceeds “ by patients with burns or smoke inhalation. “We are already in contact with other hospital networks to ease the burden”she added on CNN. Contacted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), his office was unable to specify the number of people affected.
Complicating matters, the 911 emergency call service was not working in some affected areas. “911 doesn’t work. Mobile phone services are not working (…) and that’s part of the problem. Maui County is unable to communicate with residents”said M.me Luke. The situation is “very serious and dramatic”she added.
Winds exacerbated by Hurricane Dora
Evacuations are ” in progress “, she continued, without being able to say how many people were affected. The National Guard has been activated and was already assisting the police, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Faced with these dazzling fires, “people are jumping into the water to avoid the fires”said a senior military official for the State of Hawaii, General Kenneth Hara, to the media Hawaii News Now.
The Coast Guard said it rescued 12 people in the waters off Lahaina and is dispatching ships to Maui. A witness interviewed by Hawaii News Now claimed that “all boats in lahaina harbor [avaient] burnt ». “Looks like a movie, a war movie”he said again.
According to the Vice Governor, the fact that the fires were indirectly fueled by strong winds exacerbated by Hurricane Dora is ” unprecedented “, because these weather phenomena usually bring rain and flooding to Hawaii, she explained. Almost 15,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in the archipelago, according to the PowerOutage site.