Hawaii fires prompt aid from Nevada

Hot spots indicating fires on the island of Maui this morning from the Fire Information for Resource Management mapping website.

Hot spots indicating fires on the island of Maui this morning from the Fire Information for Resource Management mapping website.

Fires across the islands of Maui and Hawaii reported to have killed more than 50 people have resulted in federal and state disaster declarations.

Northern Nevada American Red Cross volunteer Barb Kramer is deploying to Hawaii today to assist with relief efforts, it was announced on Thursday.

Kramer, a 10-year Red Cross volunteer, will be among the first volunteers to deploy to the wildfire disaster on Maui.

The fires started on Tuesday driven in part by winds from Hurricane Dora.

The state’s governor issued a fourth disaster declaration limiting travel to both Maui and the big island on Thursday.

“The Red Cross is working closely with community and government partners to ensure people have the assistance they need during this challenging time,” officials said.

FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Hawaii to supplement recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires beginning on Aug. 8 and continuing.

The death toll for the Maui fires have already made it one of the deadliest fires in recent U.S. Fire, according to the Red Cross. The 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif., saw 85 deaths.

“ With hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed, the island is in urgent need of aid,” Red Cross officials said. “It is natural for people to want to help. We ask that those wanting to assist the people of Maui to make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, you can directly contribute to providing shelter, food, relief supplies, and emotional support to those in need.”

To make a donation, visit redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by this devastating fire.

“The Salvation Army began providing meals at the Pukalani shelter on Tuesday and is expanding to provide mass feedings for all shelters on Maui, in collaboration with Maui County and American Red Cross,” said Victor Leonardi, Divisional Director of Emergency Services & Safety for The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division.

In addition, large volume meal donations are being requested from local restaurants and certified kitchens [due to health safety food preparation standards] for meal service at shelters starting Wednesday [meal service is already covered until this date]. Please note, smaller, home-prepared foods and meals cannot be accepted for meal service at shelters due to health safety food preparation standards.

 “During emergencies, the best way the public can help is to provide monetary donations which allows the delivery of the exact relief supplies a community needs,” Leonardi said. “Plus, The Salvation Army uses 100 percent of all donations designated ‘disaster relief’ in support of disaster operations.”

The Federal Trade Commission urges donors to be aware that whenever there's a natural disaster, scammers often come out of the woodwork.

"Some research and planning before you donate will help make sure your money helps people in need, not charity scammers."

Tips from the Commission include:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record with dealing with disasters.
  • Research the organization yourself especially if the donation request comes on social media. Search the name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.” And check out the charity on the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or Candid. If the message was from a friend, ask them if they know the organization themselves. Find out exactly how much of every dollar you donate goes directly to the charity’s beneficiaries.
  • Be cautious about giving to individuals on crowdfunding sites. If you’re considering it, giving to someone you personally know and trust is safest. Also, review the platform’s policies and procedures. Some crowdfunding sites take measures to check out postings asking for help after a disaster. Others don’t.
  • Don’t donate to anyone who insists you can only pay by cash, gift card, wiring money, or cryptocurrency. That’s how scammers tell you to pay. If you decide to donate, pay by credit card, which gives you more protections.
  • Confirm the number before you text to donate. Go straight to the charity. Is it their number?


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