Stories of Impact

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Hawaii Wildfire Response


The wildfires that swept across the Hawaiian island of Maui on August 8th have become the deadliest wildfire outbreak in the United States in over a century, taking more than 100 lives and leaving over 1,000 others unaccounted for. As first responders, DNA analysts and anthropologists continue to search for and identify the people who remain missing, survivors begin the long and painful road to recovery.

Brother’s Brother Foundation sent 835 hygiene kits to a facility in Kahului on the island of Maui, where they were distributed by World Central Kitchen. Assembled by volunteers at BBF’s warehouse in Pittsburgh, each hygiene kit contains the everyday essentials needed in the wake of a disaster, from shampoo and toothbrushes to tissues and feminine hygiene products.

BBF also sent fourteen pallets of baby formula donated by Giant Eagle to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) in Honolulu. CNHA has been working closely with state and county leaders, local nonprofit organizations, and community members to understand the needs in Maui and distribute aid accordingly.

Funding from BBF will support on-the-ground recovery efforts overseen by All Hands and Hearts (AHAH). The organization has been asked by Hawaii Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to lead the coordination of all volunteer activities on the Island of Maui. AHAH will then work with communities to identify gaps in support for future work efforts while looking ahead to longer-term rebuilding needs.

BBF has also given a grant to the Maui Food Bank, which staged food for people as they arrived at local shelters in the disaster’s immediate aftermath. Currently, the food bank is mass distributing food, hygiene items and paper goods at shelters and distribution points throughout Maui. BBF staff are currently in communication with two other local nonprofit organizations about assisting additional needs on the island.

The Maui wildfires occurred as Hurricane Dora, a category 4 storm, was building in the Pacific Ocean. Winds from the storm became fuel for the fires which, in some areas, traveled as fast as one mile every minute. At least 2,200 buildings in West Maui were damaged or destroyed. In Lahaina, a historic town in West Maui home to 13,000 people, nearly every building was reduced to ashes. Thousands of locals will need housing for several weeks. The current damage from the fires is estimated at around $6 billion.