HONOLULU (KHON2) — Earlier today at the federal resource fair community members spoke one-on-one with FEMA about what resources are available to them and residents said, it was an eye-opening experience.
Congresswoman Jill Tokuda organized the resource fair in Kihei, where affected residents could find out how to get important documents like passports, register for FEMA assistance and more.
“Because I did not register online right away, so I was able to sit down and they explain the whole process to me they’re really good, they’re not trying to take our land they’re not trying to take over and they’re really here to help,” said Darice Garcia, a Lahaina resident who lost her home to the fires.
Representative Tokuda agreed 100%.
“It’s one thing to go online and fill out a form or to pick out a piece of paper and start to fill it out but really to have that warm hands to be able to help you know that we’re here. we’re here for you now and for the long term,” said Rep. Tokuda.
Tokuda added, she’ll be looking to move future resource fairs into West Maui to get closer to impacted communities, but some aren’t thinking that far ahead.
Lahaina resident Sione Vaikele said, he was at a doctor’s appointment in Wailuku on the day the fires broke out.
His wife, Linda, stayed home.
As he was heading back, he was met by a police roadblock.
“Then, when I ask the cops, can I go? Because my wife, she’s inside by herself, inside my house by herself. He said I cannot go. ‘Why?’ ‘Because Lahaina is burned down,'” said Vaikele. “I called many times from where I was stuck on the road, but no answer.”
Sione and his stepson Jason said having each other is what’s holding them together, and seeing the community come together to support Lahaina is just as inspiring.
“We’re still searching you know I’m not gonna give up until I have a definitive word of where her whereabouts are,” said Jason Musgrove, Vaikele’s stepson.
Others shared the same tune.
“It’s a tragedy of biblical proportions, but we got a resilient community and aloha kea kua, man, you know,” said Kirk. “the devil was having a good day that day, but we’re coming back. you know the community is strong and you can feel the aloha.”
Amidst the tragedy you can see in Lahaina, residents of the area are still hopeful for both the rebuilding of Lahaina, and closure for everyone and everything that was lost.