Rep. Kevin McCarthy Assesses Damage in Maui from Wildfires
Rep. Kevin McCarthy recently visited the areas of Lahaina in Maui to assess the devastating damage caused by multiple wildfires. Accompanied by Reps. Jill Tokuda, David Joyce, Jared Moskowitz, and Russ Fulcher, McCarthy toured the affected areas by car. After their tour, the group of representatives held a press conference to discuss their observations and the necessary steps moving forward.
Witnessing the Devastation Firsthand
“I will tell you this, I truly appreciate, on behalf of all of my constituency, the fact that now we can truly call you part of our Ohana, our family,” expressed Tokuda, acknowledging the congressional delegation. “Because we know that after what you have seen, what you have smelt, what you have heard today from our community, being right there in Lahaina amongst our people… we know you are part of our Ohana that is going to fight like hell every single day to make sure that Maui knows we will not leave you behind.”
During the press conference, each congressman took turns sharing their firsthand accounts of the devastation. They described melted glass and metals, and even entire apartment buildings reduced to only their elevator shafts standing.
“I don’t think anybody can go there and not be moved. I don’t think anybody can go there and not have emotions overtake them,” McCarthy expressed about the impact of witnessing the destruction in Lahaina. “Walking away, I think the responsibilities as policymakers: honor those who lost their lives, understand the heritage of the location in which it took place. Respect it, but rebuild it.”
Assurance of Federal Aid
During the press conference, a reporter inquired about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding. McCarthy assured the reporter that FEMA had no concerns about their ability to provide assistance. Additionally, Chairman Joyce, from the Appropriations Committee, pledged to oversee the allocation of more aid to the state.
“Wildfire is not a strange thing in my state,” Fulcher commented, referring to Idaho, which currently has the most fires of any state. “But most of the time, not always, but most of the time, it’s in remote areas, it’s in with large timber stand areas as opposed to in a dense urban area.”
Meanwhile, the death toll in Maui stands at 115, with 40 victims identified and their families notified. The county is seeking the assistance of locals to identify 388 individuals who have been reported as missing.
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