Hawaiian TikTok creators are taking to the platform to educate users on the state of the greater Maui area. The island has been plagued by wildfires, causing catastrophic damages and displacing thousands of people. Now, many urge travelers to steer clear of Hawaii for a while, as the island needs time to recoup and the limited resources will not provide for locals and tourists.
A viral video from a creator named Sweet Tee (@sweet.tee.808) shared the importance of avoiding all of the islands for months to come. While not every island is on fire, the greater Maui area needs the natural resources left in the other islands, which Tee alleged that tourists continue to use frivolously.
Lahaina, a small city on the island of Maui, is reportedly almost entirely in ruins from the fires. The sheer amount of burn victims are overwhelming hospitals, with victims being flown out to hospitals along the west coast in California for medical assistance.
Social Media Response
In response to the digital outreach from locals, many TikTok and X users are circulating several mutual aid funds and charitable organizations to donate to for survival supplies needed for the locals. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his fiancé, reporter Lauren Sanchez, are donating 100 million dollars to relief efforts, and opening a donation fund as well.
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World Central Kitchen is providing food to victims of the fires who are staying temporary shelters, and first responders on the front lines providing medical attention and fighting the blaze.
UPDATE from WCK's Pragnya on the Big Island. In addition to teams on Maui, we've been bringing sandwiches & fruit to first responders who've been working nonstop. Thankfully fires on the Big Island are under control—but we'll ensure anyone in need receives a meal. #ChefsForHawaii pic.twitter.com/eK7A6zojU4
— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) August 11, 2023
Others remind the public that Hawaii had already been experiencing environmental devastation years before the ongoing deadly fires.
For over 4 years native Hawiian islanders have been begging people to stop visiting there for holiday because tourists have been polluting the islands and depleting the natural resources like WATER, and now Maui is on fire they're being caterd to?
WHAT ABOUT THE LOCALS?! https://t.co/g24MT8MyBP
— Carolyn Hinds 🇧🇧 #WGAStrike #SAGAFTRAStrike✊🏾 (@CarrieCnh12) August 10, 2023
Drone footage and videos from evacuating locals continue to circulate on Twitter, shocking viewers.
I was talking to a journalist about the Banyan Tree today. I told her: "The tree is probably burned just as everything is in Lahaina, but fire cannot reach its roots." The Banyan Tree embodies the deep & resilient spirit of Lahaina, made for renewal. That's our ethos in Maui. https://t.co/ZiN5fxQM2i
— HawaiiDelilah™ 🟦 #MauiStrong (@HawaiiDelilah) August 11, 2023
Humanity is dead.
— Mike (@PantherMike182) August 9, 2023
Some are still more concerned over their cancelled vacations to the island, much to the ire of locals living amid the rubble.
i said what i said. information on what’s going on: – Hundreds have been evacuated as of Wednesday morning in areas grappling with wildfires across Big Island and Maui. – The blazes have been fanned in part by strong winds from Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm, which was passing to the south of the island chain. – As of 5 a.m. local time Wednesday, Dora was about 790 miles south-southwest of Honolulu. – The Coast Guard rescued multiple residents who had entered the ocean to escape the blazes and smoke. – All the Hawaiian islands are under red flag warnings through Wednesday evening, meaning conditions are ripe for fires to spread. – In Maui, 911 was down Wednesday morning and more than 14,000 power outages were reported. #hawaii #maui
Oprah Winfrey was spotted assisting victims at a local shelter.
Oprah visited War Memorial gym, Maui. Interacted and helped #Maui wildfire survivors.
Video Credit – Hawaiinewsreport #Maui #Mauifires #Hawaii #Hawaiifires #LahainaFires #Lahaina pic.twitter.com/4fccTmYA5c
— Shadab Javed (@JShadab1) August 11, 2023
President Biden offered condolences to the victims of the fire, and announced an emergency expansion of federal aid to the state. Biden has been in contact with Hawaii Governor Josh Green regarding the state of emergency.
'Our prayers are with the people of Hawaii': President Joe Biden announced expanded federal aid for Hawaii as deadly wildfires engulfed the island of Maui https://t.co/ahOtWUfBAt pic.twitter.com/E02f58oSDt
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 11, 2023
The New York Times has compiled a list of resources for charities that are raising money for emergency supplies. Some of these include Maui United Way, the Hawaii Community Foundation, The Maui Food Bank, and more.