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Maui residents struggle reaching loved ones, supplies past roadblocks

Thousands are displaced as the historic town of Lahaina is reduced to ashes.
Maui residents struggle reaching loved ones, supplies past roadblocks
Posted at 3:01 PM, Aug 13, 2023

The effort to help victims of the fires in Maui, Hawaii, has intensified as the death toll continues to grow.

It's not easy to reach the hardest-hit areas for those wanting to help, and that's causing some frustration between locals and the police, who are trying to keep the area safe and secure.

Residents and people on the island of Maui are still having a difficult time trying to get in touch with loved ones, particularly by getting supplies past roadblocks.

Maalaea Bay, which is 12 miles from Lahaina, is where the roadblock starts, meaning anyone who is not a Lahaina resident cannot get past police cars. That includes people trying to get donations.

Scripps News came across a group who was using boats as a way to circumvent the system so they could help their loved ones, their family members, and friends who were still stuck in the middle of this burnt area so they could get them clothes, food, diapers, dog food, anything to help their situation currently.

"We always try to help out each other. It doesn't matter the race. You know, if you're here, we check off whatever we can," said Thomas Kalaluma-Palafox, a Maui Resident.

SEE MORE: Here's how you can help Maui residents amid deadly wildfires

Kalaluma-Palafox was one of the many people trying to get whatever supplies they could to their loved ones and family members inside the burn zone. When asked if there is anything that describes the way people here are coming together, Kalaluma-Palafox had two Hawaiian words.

The first one was "kōkua", which means help. The second one was "huipu," which means coming together. He said that when one person here in Hawaii suffers, everyone suffers and tries to do whatever they can to make their situation even just a little bit better.

"As long as help is needed, we are always there for each other, whatever needs, whatever we have to do, you know, to help each other. Because someday things will turn around. Maybe you're in trouble; you know, in return, they can help," said Kalaluma-Palafox.

A common sentiment heard from locals on Maui is that they feel that the government and local authorities have been more of a hindrance than a help. They say that they know that they have the right intentions, but they say that these blockades and different measures that they have to limit the flow of traffic into the burnt area are only hurting their ability to get much-needed supplies to those who need them the most.

Police say they are only allowing residents into the damaged area to prevent looting, reduce congestion, and keep emergency response crews inside the damage zone safe.

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