By Lara Cooper, Direct Relief
The death toll has continued to rise in Maui, where at least 55 are dead after catastrophic wind-driven fires swept through communities this week, including Lahaina, about 80 percent of which has been reported destroyed.
More than 1,000 people were recorded in shelters across Maui and Honolulu on Thursday, and Direct Relief is focused on meeting immediate medical needs, including those of evacuated people staying in shelters, and supporting search and rescue efforts.
The organization is preparing an air support flight for Maui, with a planned departure from Los Angeles on Saturday morning. The flight will contain wildfire response kits, emergency medical backpacks, N-95 masks and more.
Included in upcoming shipments are 20 emergency medical backpacks for Maui Search and Rescue, which has requested the packs to assist volunteer search and rescue teams working to locate those still missing from fires.
The organization has also committed $500,000 in financial support for emergency response and recovery needs.
Direct Relief has been in contact with health providers, including those providing care at the War Memorial Complex in Lahaina, where people have sought shelter. Pharmacists operating in the shelter have reported a need for prescription medications, including albuterol inhalers and other requests for respiratory medications. Antibiotics, skin creams, and other medications were requested and fulfilled Friday.
Direct Relief is also communicating with the Society of Critical Care Medicine, a group supporting high-quality critical care with members in 85 countries. SCCM is in contact with health facilities providing trauma care on the Hawai’ian Islands about medical needs.
Earlier this week, local organization Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai’i, received medical aid from Direct Relief to support medical care in Maui shelters and community outreach.
The organization has a mobile unit that has been deployed to provide supportive care to those who are pregnant and post-partum, newborns, and their families.