Statement on Maui Wildfires and Resources for Helping Those Affected
By: Dr. Marcus Iwane, 2023 Climate & Health Equity Fellow representing the ’Ahahui o nā Kauka, Association of Native Hawaiian Physicians; National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP); and the American College of Physicians (ACP)
The Climate & Health Equity Fellowship, through the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, extends its thoughts for healing and recovery to the people and families of those affected by the devastating wildfires burning on Maui. The destruction in the town of Lahaina and other communities in Maui that represent an important place in Hawai’i’s history is heartbreaking. Thousands are displaced, homes, businesses, and health clinics are destroyed, and tragically, at least 99 lives have been lost. More is being learned hourly, and we fear the casualty numbers will rise.
The wildfires in Maui are the result of a combination of pernicious factors, including the introduction of non-native plants, land use change, and decreased rainfall driven by climate change. The Consortium is committed to building awareness of the impacts of climate change, including drought and the increased risk of wildfires. We have learned the hard way that wildfires threaten places that never considered the threat before — wildfires can strike schools where children learn, homes where people sleep, or hospitals that are supposed to be places of healing. In this new climate era, everyone needs to be prepared, and we must all work together to prevent wildfires from getting worse by ending the use of fossil fuels.
Please know that you are not alone in facing this tragedy. We will come together to love and uplift one another and to find comfort and healing in this time of tragedy. If you would like to help those affected, please consider donating to one of the organizations listed below.
- The American Red Cross – To donate, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767)
- The Hawai’i Community Foundation – The Hawai’i Community Foundation is accepting donations through its Maui Strong Fund. To donate, visit the fund’s website: https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong
- Maui United Way- Maui United Way, founded in 1945, works to address Maui’s vital needs by focusing on education, income, and health. The organization has set up a Maui Fire and Disaster Relief Donations Page. All donations are processed online, please visit https://mauiunitedway.org/
- Maui Food Bank- Maui Food Bank provides “safe and nutritious food” to anyone in Maui County who is at risk of going hungry. Maui Food Bank also donates food to disaster relief efforts on the island. “With every $1 donated, the Maui Food Bank can provide four meals to the hungry living in our island community,” the food bank pledges. To donate, please visit https://mauifoodbank.org/donate/
- Red Cross Hawaii Region
- Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement – The Kākoʻo Maui Fund is providing resources that can be deployed quickly and efficiently to support recovery efforts on Maui. Funding will support evolving needs, including shelter, food, financial assistance, and other services as identified by our partners doing critical work on Maui. Visit https://www.memberplanet.com/campaign/cnhamembers/kakoomaui to donate
- Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action – If you’re wondering how to help, here are some vetted community partners and resources that you can contribute to: https://www.hapahi.org/blog/supportmaui