The federal government provides food and water as part of the emergency response to the Hawaiian wildfires

The federal government has distributed enough food and water for 5,000 people for five days as part of the response to the devastating Hawaiian wildfires, a White House spokesman said Friday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to work to provide more shelter supplies, such as water, food and blankets, to affected people in the state, the spokesperson added.

The Coast Guard, Naval National Guard, and Army are working to support response and rescue efforts.

The US Department of Agriculture has also created a Type 3 Incident Management Team and is supporting the state’s requests for wildfire liaisons.

President Joe Biden issued a federal catastrophe declaration on Thursday, vowing to send everything necessary to help the recovery. Declaration assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to aid recovery.

2 hours ago
Hawaii County created a task force to help Maui, according to the mayor

(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Hawaii County, known as the “Big Island,” has created a task force to help Maui with its needs, including helping people find housing, as well as providing police and animal control officers, he said. Mayor Mitch Roth.

The state is “more or less a family; we treat each other with aloha,” Roth said when asked what the devastation of the Maui wildfire means for his own county. “We have family there. We have friends who are there. There are still people in our county looking for family there. It’s very important to us. When someone in your family has something wrong, people naturally come to help. And that it’s what the whole state is doing, not just our island.”

Roth said that although it was known that the islands were under a red flag alert and that there would probably be “some fires, we didn’t know we were going to have the extent that we did.”

“When there are 70 mph winds, it’s very hard to keep those things under control,” he added.

2 hours ago
A nearly 150-year-old Lahaina tree appears burned but standing despite the fire
By Chris Boyette
The nearly 150-year-old, 60-foot-tall banyan tree in downtown Lahaina’s courthouse plaza appears charred and smoking but is still mostly standing, according to reports at the site.

“Banyan tree in Lahaina burning at the base, but still standing. It’s about the only thing left, apart from the lighthouse,” US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii posted along with a video showing the sprawling tree nearly leafless and charred, but standing.

CNN’s Bill Weir spotted the tree while he was reporting from Lahaina on Thursday.

“It appears to have survived,” Weir said. “It desperately needs water to survive right now, but to the locals who are coming down and seeing the damage, this is like a hopeful sign that maybe their iconic tree has survived when so much else has disappeared here.”

The tree has 46 main trunks and shades nearly a quarter of an acre, according to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

Although the tree still stands, it’s unclear what state of health it is in after surviving the fires that virtually destroyed Lahaina.

CNN has contacted the Maui County Committee on Arboriculture, which maintains the tree, for comment.

Some background: Imported from India and planted in front of the Lahaina Courthouse and Lahaina Harbor in 1873, the tree is one of the largest of its kind in America.

3 hours ago
A nonprofit organization says it can’t access West Maui right now

The Maui Rescue Mission can’t access West Maui because it’s “completely cut off and without power,” according to Lauren Henrie, communications consultant for the hyperlocal nonprofit organization that organizes mobile homeless outreach efforts.

“As a local non-profit, we can’t access anything west of Maalaea. West Maui is completely cut off with no power,” he told CNN, adding that more than 1,000 missing names have been posted to local groups Facebook. “That’s very fluid, but that’s more or less what we’re seeing at the hyperlocal level.”

Churches and non-profit organizations “are shipping materials to West Maui by boat and by air because the two access roads to West Maui are closed to everyone except emergency personnel at this time,” she said.

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