Need for increased logistical coordination as an outpouring of aloha and love, wildfire relief arrives on Maui

August 11, 2023

By: Chani Goering

Maui, HI — Officials continued their full-scale, multi-agency response to help save and sustain lives, conduct wide-reaching search and rescue, and coordinate the restoration of basic services. Meanwhile, local community groups and businesses mobilized an unprecedented humanitarian response operation to supply food, water, hygiene, clothing, and other basic necessities to their friends, neighbors, and family.

With more than 13,000 residents and tourists displaced, the needs were tremendous. But, so was the spirit of love and aloha as Maui’s tight-knit ohana and the extended family of Hawaiian islands arrived bearing boatloads of goods. Among those leading the response were the community groups known as Lahaina Strong / Maui Strong, Maui Rapid Response, and numerous other churches and community groups.

Working alongside the community-led response, nongovernmental humanitarian organizations began reaching out to offer their assistance, while others began deploying to Maui. To help ensure humanitarian aid was directed towards priority needs, the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) Team, a member of Maui’s Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (Maui VOAD), helped map, analyze and match incoming offers with requests for help.

Support to the response efforts continued around the clock even as some of the Maui-based PDC team were impacted by the firestorms. Although scarred by the impacts to the island of Maui and its community, there was no wavering of commitment by PDC to assist all partners involved in the search and relief operations.

While remaining in full activation supporting the information needs of its local, state, and federal partners, the PDC assessed critical data, then mapped and shared information with all response stakeholders using the Center’s DisasterAWARE situational awareness and early warning platform. The all-hands-on-deck response involving all levels of government and nongovernmental organizations leveraged DisasterAWARE to broadly share vital information. The unique modeling, mapping, and information-sharing capability also help amplify the efforts of the many decision-makers and response organizations by providing an official common operational picture for all involved.

The University of Hawai’I’s Pacific Disaster, based in Kihei, Maui, activates Center staff to support around-the-clock government and community response.
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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