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Biden will travel to Maui after deadly Hawaii wildfires

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Maui on Monday in the aftermath of the Hawaii wildfires, White House press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced on Wednesday.

On Aug. 21, they will meet with first responders, survivors and government officials, she said.

“In Maui, the President and First Lady will be welcomed by state and local leaders to see firsthand the impacts of the wildfires and the devastating loss of life and land that has occurred on the island, as well as discuss the next steps in the recovery effort,” Jean-Pierre said.

In the past week, Biden has been in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell, Hawaii Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz and Gov. Josh Green.

Jean-Pierre said that Green “advised that the search and recovery efforts are expected to be at a stage early next week to allow for a presidential visit.”

More than a week after the deadly wildfires spread through western Maui, authorities say they’ve recovered 106 human remains, and most have yet to be identified. That number could double, officials say.

Biden said Tuesday that he and the first lady would travel to Hawaii “as soon as we can.”

“I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas,” he said. “But I want to go and make sure we got everything they need. I want to be sure we don’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.”

There are nearly 500 federal personnel deployed to Maui, according to the White House. FEMA has provided “50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots and 10,000 blankets and shelter supplies to the county government for distribution,” the White House said.

Republicans had criticized the president for not talking about Maui for four days. He had previously addressed the wildfires last Thursday and again on Tuesday.

“Imagine being a mom or dad, wondering where your child is,” Biden said during his remarks on Tuesday. “Imagine being a husband or wife or mother or father. It’s really tough stuff.” 


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