At least six dead as wildfires blaze across Hawaiian island of Maui
The heartbreaking reality of the Maui, Hawaii wildfires was laid bare by a funeral director who said she had been overrun with inquiries since the blaze sparked earlier this week.
Such is the untold devastation, doctors on the island have also spoken of their desperation at attempting to save the lives of those embroiled in the fires.
So far, 55 people have reportedly succumbed to the fires, which have decimated the island in the Central Pacific.
It has created an ever-deepening crisis for those living in the region – grimly summed up by Carol Chaney, a funeral director at the Nakamura Mortuary in Wailuku, Maui.
She described how her business had been grimly busy since the fires, and tragically how for her she had been unable to reach family in Lahaina.
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Speaking to ABC News, the funeral director said: “We’re still trying to gather ourselves. It’s still very fresh. There’s still a lot to be done.”
After the Maui wildfires broke on Tuesday night, Ms Chaney said she had been inundated with phone calls from concerned families asking if missing loved ones had shown up at her parlour.
She continued: “We really have no answers for them which makes it even harder. It is getting a little overwhelming, but I know there’s more that’s coming.
“I don’t know how to explain it, we want to do so much, but you can’t because you’re stuck. This has never happened.”
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Ms Chaney’s sentiment was echoed by funeral arranger Alani Wun, a Maui local all her life who works at Norman’s Mortuary,
She said the hub of where the fires are ravaging were her “childhood playground”, noting: “This doesn’t ever happen here. … It’s hard to imagine.”
And while she said her parlour would be “prepared and ready to help” those in need in the community, there was still a process of observation regarding the fires that needed to be observed.
Fellow Norman’s employee, Aloha Pua, added: “We just ask that everyone pray for the Lahaina family and all of Maui.”
It comes as Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolences to those in Hawaii.
In a message, he outlined how saddened he was to learn of the destruction, and “expressed solidarity with all those suffering from this tragedy, especially those whose loved ones have died or are missing”.
Prayers were also offered to the emergency responders working tirelessly to help the victims.
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