Lahaina's unthinkable tragedy: Thousands missing, search underway

The historic town of Lahaina, Maui is decimated.

Teams with cadaver dogs searching street by street in neighborhoods where the flames traveled as fast a mile a minute. 

More than a thousand people are missing. 

Ace Yabes is searching for family members. 

"We've been to a police station. We called Red Cross, anywhere that we can find them, but nothing. We're still waiting for the calls from the government or Red Cross, but still waiting, hoping," Yabes said.


How — and when — is best to donate to those affected by the Maui wildfires?

The destruction and suffering caused by the Maui wildfires in Hawaii prompted many to immediately look for ways to help.

It's been just under a week since the deadly wildfires broke out in Maui.

Thousands of locals are now staying in shelters or hotels, waiting for their chance to assess the damage.

"Starting tomorrow 1,400 units from Air B&B will be available. Another 160 citizens have stepped up with HHFDC to provide their houses to be shared.  So it's just under 2,000 housing units are now available," Josh Green, Governor of Hawaii said.

There are also growing questions about where and how the fire started.

One resident said they "never heard any sirens" and why Maui's state-of-the-art siren warning system was not activated.

"Generally speaking, we do not have sirens for fires. I don't know if anybody in any other state does. The sirens tell you to go in and turn on your television and listen to the news reports. It's usually for tsunami warnings and hurricanes," Mayor of Maui County, Richard Bissen said.


Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa implores public not to visit Maui as wildfire devastation rages on

"Maui is not the place to have your vacation right now. DO NOT TRAVEL TO MAUI," the "Aquaman" actor implored his followers on his Instagram.

As families hope loved ones will be found, search crews are asking relatives for DNA swabs to help identify the remains of those unaccounted for. 

"The remains we're finding is through a fire that melted metal. We have to do rapid DNA to identify them," John Pelletier, Police Chief of Maui County said.

The first class action lawsuit has already been filed claiming Hawaii's electric companies ignored warning signs and kept power lines on during dangerous fire conditions.  

FEMA says President Biden has authorized more federal aid.  

"I have been in continuous communication with the President since these fires started. I have been giving him updates and his team updates letting him know what the federal family is doing to support everything that Governor Green has asked for," FEMA Administrator, Deanne Criswell said.

Volunteers and nonprofit groups are packing water, fuel and baby supplies putting them on tour boats headed to the hardest hit areas.

"We feel we are crowd sourcing and running our own logistics coordination and supplies getting them in here," volunteer Nikki Whitaker said. "We have people coming in from the neighboring islands."