Rebel News reporter Alexa Lavoie recently spoke with a Maui resident named Kapano in Lahaina, where wildfires have completely devastated the town. When the fires started to wreak havoc, Kapano put his boots on the ground, bringing together many people to start a community supply station.
He described the fires: "A lot of fear. A lot of just sadness, confusion and pretty much panic. A lot of people lost things so rapidly fast that they, they almost had just pretty much a shirt and shorts and not even slippers."
Kapano told Alexa how as time progressed, his focus shifted to giving a helping hand wherever it was needed:
I had a very small role in helping out, and I was just kind of unloading boxes. We were trying to organize it, and the first day was pretty crazy. Of course, just like anything, just things getting dropped off... there were no tents, no tarps, nothing here really. So things just got thrown at us and we kind of popped the tents up first just to get some shade.
He described the community effort while residents received no outside help:
We had a huge community of people just kind of helping out, putting hands on where it was needed, and without batting an eye putting, you know, 14 hours in a day just to help out, set up. To give even a smile was, you know, huge for a lot of these people — just a hug, and a smile, and open ears... We didn't have any help from Red Cross. We didn't have any help from FEMA, you know, it was 100% local residents here.
We had family members from every community come and help out. So now we're all trying to together to come together as a community and to make a harmony between everything that's going on over here.
Kapano told Alexa how surprised he was that the community was given no warning about the fires:
I mean, even, you know, on your phones, shouldn't there be emergency alerts that come through and even if you don't have service, the satellites can directly beam in, and you know, give you an update like, 'hey, here's the fire'— but nothing happened.
So all of us as a community were confused, and it would have been awesome if we could even have some sort of help saying, 'Hey, like there's an emergency right now, like get out!'
He described the event as a 'beautiful disaster':
There's unbelievable amounts of trauma that had happened, I can't even put it into words. But to see everybody come together, and eat together, and Mālama, and take care of each other, and you know, just respect each other and lend out a helping hand, has just been unbelievable.
If you think that Rebel News needs to be on the ground in Hawaii to give a platform to the residents where they can tell their side of the story, please consider donating to offset our travel costs at TheTruthAboutMaui.com, where you can also keep up with our on-the-ground reports.
Rebel News is also crowdfunding donations for the Honokowai Ohana Relief Centre — 100% of these proceeds will go to disaster relief efforts and rebuilding the local community. Any surplus funds will be spent on children in the neighbouring communities. Click here to donate to the Honokowai Ohana Relief Centre.