Data and analysis help county, state, and federal forces to mobilize relief where help is needed most

August 10, 2023

By: Chani Goering

Maui, HI – On August 10, 2023, President Biden issued a Presidential Declaration of a Major Disaster, ordering Federal aid be deployed to assist the State of Hawaii and the County of Maui. With full emergency activation underway, new information began pouring into the County of Maui Emergency Operations Center (EOC) about humanitarian and medical needs, as well as infrastructure damages and outages to power, water, mobile, and other communications.

As part of its mission to support Emergency Managers at home and abroad with the best tools and information available, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) partnered with Maui County Enterprise GIS Team, Department of Management which was leading efforts to map impacted areas. Through this joint effort, PDC collected and mapped a variety of emergency-related information, quickly combining existing data with the new information to help determine the prioritization of resources. Results were then published to the DisasterAWARE platform for wider use and dissemination to all stakeholders involved in emergency operations. DisasterAWARE is an early warning, risk intelligence, and situational awareness tool that provides a common operational picture for all responders at every level of decision-making who need to coordinate relief, logistics, public safety, and more.

Using its advanced models and analytics, PDC refined earlier infrastructure and humanitarian needs estimates based on the new data received from aerial assessments and satellite imagery.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims of this immense tragedy. Our entire Maui ohana are grieving these losses. We commend the members of our community, the many volunteer organizations, and our first responders, many of whom have sacrificed everything and lost loved ones while in the line of duty, for their heroic efforts to save lives and relieve suffering,” said PDC Executive Director Ray Shirkhodai.

Shirkhodai explained that the damage and needs estimates released by PDC and its partners at the County of Maui are designed to aid rapid response, planning, and coordination between partners on the ground.

“As new and refined information become available to enhance understanding of the situation and humanitarian needs, it will be released through the County of Maui following thorough vetting for accuracy,” said Shirkhodai.

About PDC

Winner of the 2022 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction, the University of Hawai’i’s Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) is a global leader in the application of life-saving disaster management science, early warning technology, and advanced analytics. Our risk intelligence products provide decision-makers with the essential insights and information needed to act early to protect communities from hazards.PDC works to support the most demanding needs of nonprofits and government organizations worldwide in a collective mission to create a safer, more disaster-resilient world.

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