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In an island community already suffering from housing woes, Maui wildfires point to a long, painful road ahead, disaster recovery expert says

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The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engulfed in flames along Wainee Street on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii.

The devastating wildfires that swept quickly through the Hawaiian island of Maui this week have claimed the lives of at least 36 people. The wind-whipped flames left the historic town of Lahaina, known as a site of Hawaiian cultural heritage, in ruins. As a result of the devastation, President Joe Biden issued a major disaster declaration on Thursday.

For an island community already dealing with some of the highest rates of homelessness nationwide, the destruction wrought by the fires couldn’t have come at a worse time. On top of that, disaster recovery for communities living in such geographic isolation could prove uniquely logistically difficult.

Northeastern Global News spoke with Daniel Aldrich, a Northeastern professor who directs the university’s Security and Resilience Program and co-directs the Global Resilience Institute, about the challenges facing Hawaii, its affected island community and the broader emergency response.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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