Saturday, August 19, 2023

Hawaii Conflagration: Eleven Days After The Fire Started NBC News Is Reporting Over 1000 People Still Unaccounted For

Following on "The Daily Mail Is Reporting The Death Toll In The Hawaiian Conflagration Is Over Four Times What The Authorities Say", from NBC, Updated Aug. 19, 2023, 8:32 PM EDT:

Maui wildfire death toll, already highest in modern U.S. history, could surge
While accounting for the number of people killed in any mass casualty disaster is a grueling task, the catastrophe in Hawaii poses a unique challenge.

LAHAINA, Hawaii — The windswept wildfires that scorched Maui last week were the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Authorities now fear that the death toll will only rise in the days and weeks to come, intensifying the pain of islanders already scarred by catastrophe.

At least 114 people have been confirmed dead, and officials say an estimated 1,000 more could still be unaccounted for, further complicating the arduous process of locating deceased victims and confirming their identities.

"This is unprecedented," Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said at a news conference Wednesday. "No one has ever seen this that is alive today. Not this size, not this number, not this volume — and we're not done."

About 78% of a designated burn zone that includes the historic seaside town of Lahaina, home to about 12,000 people, had been searched as of Friday night, officials said.

Initially, the number of people believed missing was pegged at more than 2,000, but that number has since fallen, as cellphone communications have been restored and loved ones have been able to make contact. Still, unofficial online lists of the missing are circulating, and people have turned to social media and missing persons posters for help.

Arriving at an accurate count in a mass casualty disaster, particularly one as sprawling and destructive as a wildfire, can take months or even years, researchers and forensic anthropologists say — and that's if the recovery and identification of all victims can be realized at all.

In Maui, which lures hundreds of thousands of tourists every month, the fallout from the wildfires poses its own distinct set of challenges for search teams and forensic specialists....