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Hawaii: Maui Wildfires

PPM Disaster Response: Hawaii: Maui Wildfires

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In early August, a series of wildfires ravaged Hawaii, predominantly on the island of Maui. The winds from hurricane Dora passing a few hundred miles south of the islands began fueling the wildfires that are devastating everything in their path. The historic tourist town of Lahaina (pop 9,000) has been decimated and a reported 96 people have perished and at least 1,000 people remain missing. The situation has been exacerbated due to much of the communications being down there and many residents not receiving a timely warning of the severity of the fires.

At least 111 people have lost their lives due to the fires, 2,200 structures have been destroyed (86% of them were residential), and thousands of people are now displaced. Many airliners are adjusting schedules to help evacuate people from the island to find more hospitable conditions on the other islands.

PPM has partners on the islands that are prayerfully considering how they can respond to the situation on Maui and Hawai'i. Please pray alongside us for our brothers and sisters enduring this tragic and deadly natural disaster.

(photo credit: NBC News)

Updates From The Field

On the Ground in Maui

by Dillon Crum | November 17, 2023 11:35 AM

Last week PPM staff members landed in Maui to connect in person with pastors and non-profits working in fire recovery.  We were graciously welcomed to the island by all our partners and they shared with us many ways our volunteers can assist with their ongoing work.  Two of the largest needs they expressed are for assistance with the upcountry fire cleanup in Kula and then relational ministry with people displaced by the fires.  They let us know that many of the families are exhausted from the constant moving and the uncertainty at the moment.  A huge blessing would be for our teams to host community fellowship nights. These events would be an opportunity for families to have a meal, let the kids play some games, and give parents the opportunity to either talk through their experience or go out on a date night.  Our partners said that as the interest around wildfire relief has diminished in the news the people are feeling forgotten and on their own.  Lastly, our work with the upcountry fire cleanup will be in partnership with Waipuna Chapel and the Watershed Alliance.  They are working to clear all the debris left by the fire and create natural fire breaks on the mountainside as well as replant native species.  When meeting with Kyle at the Watershed Alliance, he said they are in a race against the clock as the fire left large sections of barren dirt which in the next heavy rainfall could lead to devastating landslides.  Below is a link to an interview with Kyle.  If you and a team are interested in serving alongside these partners in Maui, please fill out a request info form and a member of our team will be in contact with you. 


On the Ground in Maui

Cleanup Progress

by Dillon Crum | October 27, 2023 3:07 PM

On Thursday, Oct. 26th, the EPA announced they had removed more than 85% of the hazardous materials from the burn zone in Lahaina.  The remaining hazardous materials are in areas that are harder to clear due to either their location or the type of building.  Apartment buildings are very difficult to clear as they have to assess the safety of the buildings and then remove debris.  Once the EPA has completed the hazardous waste removal the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will begin the remainder of the debris removal.  There is still a long road to recovery in Lahaina, but residents are beginning to see progress.  Please continue to pray for the Maui community.  Pray for these government agencies as they continue to serve the people of Maui.  If you are interested in working alongside our Maui partners in their recovery please fill out an information request form and a member of our team will be in contact with you!

Photo Credit: Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023

Cleanup Progress

Thanking God for Partnerships

by Dillon Crum | October 24, 2023 9:44 AM

Here at PPM we are standing in awe of how God continues to open doors for us to respond on Maui.  We have now been in contact with many new non-profits and churches on Maui who are inviting our volunteers to come and serve! God has opened the door for us to partner with a church in Kula where the upcountry fires raged.  Our volunteers have been asked to assist with some tree debris removal as well as create fire breaks in the landscape to mitigate future fires.  On the northern side of the island we have connected with a non-profit who is planning to start construction on two tiny-home villages which will act as stable, transitional housing for families who were displaced by the fires.  While these new ministries are still in the planning process and we cannot guarantee these opportunities for every team coming to Maui; we are nevertheless excited the Lord continues to show us ways to assist locals in their recovery efforts.  Please continue to pray for wisdom and guidance for all the decision makers in Hawaii right now.  Pray for unity among the people as they seek to recover in a community focused way.  Lastly, please pray for safety and guidance for the PPM Scouting Team heading to Maui in November to establish more partners.  If you are interested in serving in our efforts on Maui please fill out a request info form and a member of our team will be in contact with you!

Photo Credit: Maui Department of Land and Natural Resources

Thanking God for Partnerships

Land Care and Regrowth

by Dillon Crum | October 20, 2023 3:17 PM

With recovery efforts slowly gaining momentum we are hearing a lot of need coming from land('Aina in Hawaiian) stewards regarding reforestation, fire mitigation, and farming.  Many of the local farmers on the island were supported by the resorts and restaurants in Lahaina and have since lost a significant portion of their income.  Local farmers are connecting and learning how they can support one another and how they can develop new models of growing and distributing food so that everyone on the island is sustained.  As PPM continues to make partnerships on Maui we are looking for ways to connect with these farmers and support them either through our volunteers working on their farms or helping to distribute their produce.  Through our volunteers care for the land and through helping to meet the tangible needs of locals we hope to continue to engage the community of Maui with the love and care of Christ.  Please continue to pray for all those who are dislocated and pray for more transitional housing to become available.  Continue to follow along here with how PPM is responding and submit an information request form if you would like to learn more about how you can help in Maui!

Photo Credit: (Hawaiian Land Trust photo)

Land Care and Regrowth

The New Normal

by Dillon Crum | October 16, 2023 4:24 PM

We are now almost 2 months out since the devastating fires in Lahaina.  Many of the homeowners who were dislocated have now found temporary long-term housing and are working with the various government and non-profit agencies as they continue to rebuild their lives.  Schools in the Lahaina area have started to re-open and kids who are still in the area will be able to return to school by next week.  There is a lot of different emotions surrounding the reopening of the schools, with teachers and students alike feeling both excitement and sadness.  They are excited to once again be together, while at the same time grieving those who are no longer in their class.  As the residents of the Lahaina area begin to settle into their new normal, please continue to pray for their well being.  Pray the financial assistance they need is readily available and pray that the Lord gives leaders the right words of comfort to continue to share with the people.  Next month Praying Pelican Missions will be taking a scouting trip to Maui to connect with the partners with whom we have been in communication.  Please pray for safety on the trip and for the Lord to open up more doors or give us clear answers in how we respond.

photo credit: Maui News/Matthew Thayer

The New Normal

Ongoing Recovery

by Dillon Crum | October 9, 2023 5:14 PM

As we continue to engage in discussions with local non-profits and churches it is becoming clear that much of the initial anger and confusion surrounding the fires is beginning to turn to deep grief.  There is still plenty of frustration and tensions, but the reports we are hearing are of the community coming together and providing space for each other to simply grieve.  As of today, Maui has officially opened back up to tourists, but many locals are encouraging visitors to explore other areas of Maui and to leave West Maui alone.  Below is a link to a video created by the Hawaiian Governor's office for anyone coming to Maui.  In the video you can hear about what the locals are asking of tourists.  Please share this link with anyone you know who may be considering a vacation to HI at this time.  We also ask that you continue to join us in prayer for the people displaced by these fires and for all the first responders.  We still have a VERY long road to recovery and you can already feel that people are completely exhausted.  Please pray for strength and wisdom for all those there on the ground and for continual guidance for PPM leadership as we continue to plug into the Maui community.


Maui Update

by Dillon Crum | October 2, 2023 10:58 AM

It has been almost two months since the deadly fires in West Maui.  At PPM we have continued to connect with local churches and non-profits.  In these meetings the frustrations of the locals are palpable.  In our meeting last week it was expressed there is a growing tension between residents of West Maui who were displaced by the fires and the rest of Maui and the government.  West Maui locals are feeling neglected, confused, and hurt by the seeming prioritization of tourists over displaced people.  While the rest of Maui is feeling the economic strain of not having their primary source of income which is tourism.  The invitation for people displaced by the fires to stay at hotels and vacation rentals is ending at the end of Oct. and many people are not sure what the next steps for their housing will look like.  As we continue to develop a network of partners on Maui we will be looking for ways in which our volunteers can assist with temporary housing solutions.  Please continue to pray for all the people who have been displaced by the fires.  Pray for wisdom for all the leaders making decisions and for clear communication to form between displaced residents and decision makers.  Lastly, pray that the grace and peace of the Lord rest on all Believers on Maui so the unity and love of Christ is demonstrable to everyone watching.

Photo Credit: Philip Cheung/The New York Times

Maui Update

PPM Responds!

by Dillon Crum | September 13, 2023 2:27 PM

Are you ready to come and serve alongside our Hawaiian brothers and sisters as they work to recover from these devastating fires?  PPM and our local partners are ready to start planning your trip! Our partners on the island have let us know they are ready to start receiving teams in Spring of 2024! Per the previous post, there are many ministry opportunities ranging from reforestation/land stewardship, food/supplies distribution, and kid's ministry with other ministry opportunities likely as we continue to plug into the Maui community.  If you would like to learn more, please fill out an inquiry form on this page and a member of our Hawaii operations will be in contact with you to start planning your trip.  Please continue to pray for wisdom and strength for all those responding and for the peace of the Lord to fill all the survivors.

Photo Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty

PPM Responds!

Ministry Work

by Dillon Crum | September 13, 2023 2:19 PM

As we have been in talks with local non-profits we are beginning to get a clear picture of how PPM can come alongside local organizations and assist them in their recovery work.  Currently, home/structure debris cleanup is not something PPM teams will be engaged with.  This is due to the extent of the damage and the fact they had to spray a chemical over the ash to keep it from blowing around the island.  However, we have heard there are great needs in helping to sort through donations and deliver them to families in the temporary housing shelters.  There is also a great need for both vegetation clearing and reforestation efforts.  Finally, many of the survivors are families with young children.  As parents begin the long-road to recovery there will be ample opportunity for hosting sports camps or VBS's so the parents can have get the time to do the things necessary to move back to their land.  We will continue to update our ministry opportunities as we hear from locals how we can best support them.  Please continue to pray for the survivors and all those working to assist as they gear up for an uncertain future.

Photo Credit: Yuki Iwamura/Getty/AFP

Ministry Work

Connecting with Partners on the Island

by Dillon Crum | September 13, 2023 1:53 PM

PPM has been actively working with our church partners on Kauai and Oahu to get in contact with other churches on Maui.  Through one of our pastors on Kauai we were able to connect with Pastor Brown at Grace Baptist Church.  His church and home were destroyed in the fire.  The picture below is of his congregation meeting in the Maui Coffee Attic to worship and comfort one another.  We have also been in weekly conversation with many non-profits on the island to assess where PPM can come alongside them in their recovery efforts.   All these partners are working to comfort survivors and put together action plans for community recovery.  We are excited to be in dialogue with these amazing partners and look forward to partnering alongside them on the long-road to recovery.  Please pray for divine strength for the church and non-profit leaders as they lean into very difficult conversations with survivors.

Photo Credit: Yuki Iwamura/Getty

Connecting with Partners on the Island

Survivors Comforting Each Other

by Dillon Crum | September 13, 2023 1:40 PM

In the aftermath of the devastation survivors and locals from other Hawaiian islands mobilized to meet the needs of those in their community.  Hotels opened up space for families to stay, AirBnb opened many of their listings for survivors, and others went to stay with family or friends.  The official number of displaced people is approximately 7500,  However, our non-profit partners working with displaced people say the real number could be double, as many people have been reluctant to work with government agencies and have gone to live with family and friends.  These displaced people are feeling the immense stress of navigating their current situation and that situation is only going to become worse as the hotels and AirBnb begin to close their doors at the end of September.  We have heard reports from local non-profits that land has been donated and modular homes are beginning to be constructed as temporary housing for survivors.  Currently, officials on the island are thinking it will be another 9 months before anyone can begin to even think of rebuilding.  Please continue to pray for all the survivors as they navigate these uncertain times.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty

Survivors Comforting Each Other

Complete Devastation

by Dillon Crum | September 13, 2023 1:18 PM

In the historic town of Lahaina over 2200 buildings were destroyed or damaged and the University of Hawaii's Pacific Disaster Center confirmed that 86% of those buildings were residential homes.  The full impact of these fires is staggering.  Government officials are saying that it will cost $4 - $6 billion to rebuild the downtown Lahaina area.  Currently, the official death toll is 115 and 66 people are still unaccounted for.  Join with us in prayer that these 66 people will be found so that family members are able to receive some closure.  

Photo Credit: Rick Bowmer/AP

Complete Devastation

Needs Made Known

by Bethany Richardson | August 14, 2023 12:46 PM

Here is a note I received today from one of our partner pastors:

Aloha e ku’u lei mokihana

I am sure you all are aware of the devastation that has taken place in Maui and Hawai’i Island. Generosity has always been one of the greatest strengths of our halau. Many of you have already reached out asking how can we help. Mahalo nui for your generous hearts. I would like you all to know that I am in communication with one of our halau musicians Ikaika Blackburn who is a fire captain on Maui and is in the thick of things, seeing the disaster first hand. He has informed me that the greatest need currently is:

  • Cots
  • Air mattresses
  • Blankets
  • Bedding
  • Clothes
  • Gift Cards

I will have additional info soon regarding drop off date, location, and time. For now, please pray and begin gathering any of the items above. They ask that everything is bagged and labeled. For example, clothes…..label adult male and female clothing, Keiki clothing, Queen bedding, etc. It helps them to distribute the items super quick.

Let’s all come together and kokua. Every little bit helps. Let’s send huge mokihana blessings to our friends and family on Maui.

He kuleana ko kakou.

It is all our responsibility.

Currently, PPM has started a donation campaign on givebutter that will be directed to our partners who best understand the needs as they develop. The link to donate can be found on this page.

We ask that you would consider giving monetary donations that would help those who are local acquire the appropriate supplies. We are not looking for any types of physical goods at this time.

Thank you for your generosity and thanks for praying.

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