Massachusetts residents have been moved to action to support the people of Maui following August's deadly wildfires.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross in Medford and two members of Beverly's Massachusetts Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue Team have gone to Maui to help nearly a week after a state of emergency was declared.
Officials in Hawaii are assessing the devastation wrought by what is now understood to be the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century.
The Lahaina fire in West Maui alone burned an estimated 2,170 acres of land, damaging more than 2,200 structures. Up to 4,500 people are displaced, and hundreds more are missing, according to Hawaii governor Josh Green. As of Saturday, 96 people were confirmed dead, but Green expects the number of dead will increase.
Nineteen-year-old Noelle Lo, a Maui resident and student at Boston University, had been working in Hawaii's tourism industry over the summer when the wildfires began.
"It's a lot of mixed emotions," Lo told WBUR's Walter Wuthmann. "[Tourists] are saying that their vacation is ruined because of these fires. But it's not just a vacation [for] us. It's our livelihoods, [and] it's not ruined, it's gone."
Volunteer groups have organized aid deliveries to Lahaina, Maui's hardest-hit area. Lo said there's still more that people off the island can do.
"[We've got] a lot of help coming in," Lo said. "Our Targets, our Walmarts, our Costco ... are empty. We need diapers. Depends. Feminine products. We have mountains of clothes — but we still need all of that. Donate items. Ship them if you can."
Monetary donations are useful, but as Nicole Nagata, a traveling nurse from Pittsfield who was in Maui during the fires, told The Boston Globe, “When you go to Costco, and you go to Walmart, and you go to Target ... and there's no more supplies, it has to come from somewhere."
For Lo, it's a matter of volunteering until her time on the island is up for the summer. Despite the devastation, she said it's not easy to leave just yet.
"I plan on going back to university at the end of the month, but it's just so difficult. I've been talking with friends and family and I feel this guilt. I get to escape this mayhem, and I feel so guilty," Lo said. "All I can do is continue to use my voice."