In a bid to revive the economy of West Maui after the catastrophic August wildfires, Governor Josh Green, M.D. has announced the reopening of the West Maui communities of Kā’anapali, Nāpili, Honokōwai, and Kapalua from October 8.
This comes exactly two months after wildfires wreaked havoc in Lahaina.
According to a PR Newswire release, residents of Hawai’i and visitors from around the world are encouraged to plan trips to Maui, thereby supporting various businesses, including restaurants, retail outlets, attractions, and accommodations.
“Beginning October 8, all travel restrictions will end and West Maui will be open to visitors again, so people from Hawaiʻi and around the world can resume travel to this special place and help it begin to recover economically,” said Governor Green, per the release.
“This difficult decision is meant to bring hope for recovery to the families and businesses on Maui that have been so deeply affected in every way by the disaster,” Green added in the release.
However, Lahaina will remain closed to the public until further announcements are made, honoring the grief and challenges faced by its residents.
Economic Recovery and Support
The August wildfires have had a profound impact on the livelihoods of many, with tourism being a primary source of income for West Maui. Visitors can play a pivotal role in rejuvenating the local economy by resuming travel to the area.
The release noted that Daniel Nāho’opi’i, the Chief Administrative Officer of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, remarked on the overwhelming support from global communities in these trying times.
FEMA and Pacific Disaster Center Release Damage Estimates
According to a Maui Now report, The Pacific Disaster Center, in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, recently made public their damage assessment maps of the wildfires.
These revealed that a staggering 2,207 structures in Lahaina were either damaged or destroyed, significantly from the initially reported 270 structures.
The rebuilding cost for Lahaina alone is pegged at an astounding $5.52 billion.
Kula also suffered notable damages, with 544 exposed structures and a rebuilding cost estimate of $434 million.
These revelations underline the sheer magnitude of the catastrophe and the lengthy road to recovery that lies ahead for West Maui.