Equity-obsessed Hawaii official delayed water to fight fires for 5 hours; Locals say at least 500 dead

by WorldTribune Staff, August 20, 2023

A resource management official in Hawaii was so intent on imposing an “equity” agenda that his agency waited for more than five hours to release water to local landowners battling the wildfires that devastated Maui, reports say.

M. Kaleo Manuel, former deputy director of the Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management, had said that access to water should be predicated on “conversations about equity” and that water was an important tool for “social justice.”

A Hawaiian government official waited more than five hours before releasing waters to fight the Maui wildfires. / Video Image

Manuel was transferred to another position within the Department of Land and Natural Resources on Wednesday, according to Honolulu Civil Beat, which first reported the story of the delay.

The West Maui Land Company said in an Aug. 10 letter to Manuel that his commission refused its request to divert streams to fill landowners’ reservoirs in the hard-hit Lahaina area until the wildfires raged out of control, according to a Honolulu Civil Beat report.

The report said that Manuel had asked the company to consult with a local farmer about the impact of water diversion before approving their request.

In a livestream debate hosted by the University of Hawaii last year, Manuel described water as a sacred god: “Let water connect us and not divide us,” said Manuel, referring to water distribution on the island. “We can share it, but it requires true conversations about equity. … How do we coexist with the resources we have?”

Manuel is a former Obama Foundation leader in a program instituted by the former president’s non-profit to help participants with coaching and “practical skill building for social change.”

Report: Real Maui death toll nears 500

While regime media parrot the wildfire death toll numbers from government officials (about 110), the actual number is closer to 500, locals told DailyMail.com, adding that morgues were running out of body bags.

“Some of the relatives of the victims have been left to uncover the remains of their loved ones themselves due to the glacial progress of the search and recovery operation,” the report said. More than 1,000 people remain missing.

Allisen Medina, 24, who has lived in Maui for five years, told DailyMail.com: “People have been doing their own recovery. I know there are at least 480 dead here in Maui and I don’t understand why they’re [the authorities] not saying that. Maybe it’s to do with DNA or something. I do know they ran out of body bags by the first or second night and had to ship some in from the mainland.”

Family members are being left to find the charred corpses of their loved ones themselves, Medina said, adding that included a friend of hers who lost four family members.

She told DailyMail.com: “I have a personal friend who lost her parents, sister and her 10-year-old nephew. She went in [to Lahaina] and saw them there. 100 percent not enough is being done so people are doing it themselves. The government, relief organizations – they’re not doing anything. We have the right to know what’s going on. FEMA came here to help with the recovery [process] but we don’t see them. We’re only 100 miles from Oahu which has several military bases. Why is the response so lacking? Why are they doing so little? Why is nothing else being done?”

Southwest flight attendant Sarah Trost, of Sacramento, California, posted a video to TikTok on Tuesday and detailed a conversation she had with a part-time morgue worker who drove her shuttle from the airport to her hotel that day.

Trost said the worker had also told her that 480 people have been confirmed dead as Medina claims, and that authorities have actually only searched 13 percent of Lahaina so far.

The morgue worker, who is volunteering in the search, also described finding scores of bodies, adding that many were families – including young children – who had died at their homes in each other’s’ arms, unable to escape the flames.

“He found so many children, children and moms holding each other. Infants, toddlers, the unimaginable. Husbands and wives, whole entire [families] in a room just huddling together, burning to death,” Trost said. “It’s all bones. So he’s grabbing the bones with the ash shoveling them into body bags. They have no more room on the island in the morgue so they’re shipping in containers to hold those body bags.”

Maui resident don’t want Biden around in aftermath of fires

As Maui residents struggle in the aftermath of wildfires that devastated the island, Joe Biden has said he will take a day off his week-long vacation at Lake Tahoe to view the devastation.

Maui residents would rather he didn’t.

“I don’t want him here,” Jay Awan, of Lahaina, told the New York Post. “He’s just coming to Maui to look good in front of the cameras.”

Awan, 45, a cook and tiki carver, said nothing would be gained from the 80-year-old Biden’s visit, as his town, a once-popular resort area, has been “burned to the ground.”

He noted that even after reconstruction, which officials estimated would cost around $6 billion, the island would never return to its former glory.

“It’s like a f–king warzone here,” he said. “Maui’s never going to be the same. Lahaina’s never going to be the same. They’re going to put resorts up all along here — Lahaina is going to lose its character as an old whaling village. We can’t get the historical sites back.”

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Peter Friedgen, a 66-year-old Lahaina resident who said he lost everything in the fire except for his guitar, said he could care less about Biden’s visit, adding: “It’s a waiting game now for someone to show up — the government, insurers. I’ve just been down the beach, waiting for people to get into town.”

During his Delaware vacation before his Lake Tahoe vacation, Biden twice answered with “no comment” when asked to address the devastation on Maui.

Kristi Bowman, 60, an accountant who lived Lahaina, said that she does want Biden to visit: “We haven’t had federal support. We’ve had local support, not federal. “I filed an application for somebody for disaster funding and it already got denied, saying they didn’t have proof from the insurance company over how much their losses were — but there’s no possible way to get that information right now.”

As for assistance to Maui, Team Biden said it will send $700 per household for those who lost their homes in the wildfires. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is pushing for another $25 billion in aid to Ukraine.

A post on X (formerly Twitter) summed it up: “Joe Biden gave 100 Billion to Ukraine but just announced he plans to give those suffering in Maui a ONE time $700 payment.”

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