Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell praised the recovery efforts in Hawaii ahead of President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden’s upcoming visit to Maui.
Ms. Criswell informed reporters on Saturday that President Biden will witness the devastation caused by the wildfires in Lahaina, where nearly 100 people have lost their lives.
She also mentioned that the President will observe the progress made by FEMA and other agencies in ongoing recovery operations, initiated by President Biden’s federal disaster declaration.
“He will personally stand with the community, alongside the First Lady, to reassure them that the entire federal government will support them through every step of the process,” Ms. Criswell stated.
This will be President Biden’s first visit to Maui, which follows weeks of criticism regarding the initial response to the disaster. Ms. Criswell commended the President’s actions and assured that the recovery efforts are heading in the right direction.
Since the federal disaster declaration, the Biden administration has dispatched 1,000 federal workers and 450 search and rescue team members to Maui County. Ms. Criswell highlighted that these teams have covered approximately 60% of the fire-ravaged areas.
In addition, FEMA and the Red Cross have been working together to secure hotel accommodations for displaced individuals, resulting in a nearly 50% reduction in the number of people staying in shelters.
The Biden administration has authorized over $7 million in assistance for those affected by the fires. The President has also increased the federal cost share for Hawaii from 75% to 100% to access more disaster funding.
Ms. Criswell mentioned that FEMA and other agencies are preparing for debris removal, which will be the next phase in the recovery process.
“We are making progress,” Ms. Criswell assured. “And we will continue to support the people of Hawaii every step of the way.”