Only five of the 106 dead in Maui have been identified because the remains are unrecognizable, Hawaii’s governor says

The governor of Hawaii announced on Tuesday that the process of identifying victims of the Maui wildfires will be extremely difficult and is expected to take several weeks. The death toll has reached 106, and families awaiting news about their missing loved ones are being encouraged to provide DNA samples.

Governor Josh Green stated that a genetics team will aid in identifying the victims. With over 185 search and rescue personnel and 20 cadaver dogs, the meticulous search through the remains of homes and businesses destroyed by the deadliest US wildfire in a century continues.

During an interview on “The Source with Kaitlan Collins,” Governor Green likened the situation to that of war zones or catastrophic events like 9/11, underscoring the enormity of the task.

Identifying the victims is complicated due to the largely unrecognizable remains and the rarity of finding usable fingerprints. Authorities must generate DNA profiles from the remains and hope to find matches, including using DNA samples provided by relatives of the missing.

Governor Green urged those in the local area concerned about their loved ones to visit the family support center and provide DNA swabs to aid in genetic matching.

As of Tuesday afternoon, only five of the 106 deceased victims had been positively identified according to Maui County officials. Two victims’ names had been released, with the other three pending family notifications.

Family members of missing individuals have submitted 41 DNA samples for identification, as reported by county officials.

The precise number of those unaccounted for remains uncertain, as per authorities.

The fires began spreading rapidly on August 8, causing significant damage to the historical parts of Lahaina in western Maui.

Approximately one-third of the search area had been covered by Tuesday, according to authorities, with the county claiming 32% and Governor Green mentioning around 27%. He expressed hope that a substantial portion of the search operation would conclude by the weekend.

However, there are concerns that expanding the search to new areas could increase the already grim death toll.

Governor Green stated that many human remains were found along a coastal road, and as the search extends to residential properties, uncertainty surrounds the extent of discoveries.

A mobile morgue equipped with X-ray technology and other necessary equipment has been deployed to aid in identification and processing of remains, as indicated by Jonathan Greene, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Among the victims identified are Robert Dyckman, 74, and Buddy Jantoc, 79, both Lahaina residents, with additional names released by families.

Regarding support, the Lahaina Bypass, closed for several days, will reopen on Wednesday with nighttime access restricted to residents. Displaced individuals are being accommodated in hotel rooms and Airbnb lodgings through donations and support efforts.

Concerns persist about drinking water safety in certain parts of the heavily affected Lahaina and Upper Kula areas, prompting advisories not to drink or boil water.

Firefighting continues, with the Lahaina fire 85% contained and the Kula fire 60% contained as of Tuesday, as reported by Maui County officials.

President Biden assured Hawaii of necessary resources for recovery and reconstruction, expressing intent to visit Maui soon. Nevertheless, some Maui residents expressed frustration about aid distribution speed.

A review of emergency response is underway due to issues with emergency sirens and fire hydrants during the initial wildfire spread on August 8, led by Hawaii’s attorney general.

Hawaiian Electric faces a lawsuit alleging that wind-toppled power lines contributed to the destructive Lahaina wildfire, though the official cause remains undetermined.

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