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.