Amid the devastation of Lahaina, people are contending with the cleanup of toxic materials. As of this week, the Environmental Protection Agency says it’s cleared about 350 sites, but there are still more than 2,000 properties that need to be swept.
Hazardous materials are being placed into large drums that will need to be shipped off the island eventually for proper disposal.
As that painstaking process goes on, there’s a growing sense among residents and survivors that the more than 66 people who remain unaccounted for are not coming back.
The official death toll remains at 115. Analysts are still trying to identify remains, working with the thousands of DNA samples collected from relatives of the missing.
At Maui’s Kahului Airport, the hit to the vital tourism industry is plain to see with thousands of rental cars parked and unused. About 18,000 vehicles are idle, and rental companies are now considering shipping many cars out of the area.
Though tourism officials are urging more visitors to come back, Maui is losing an estimated $13 million dollars a day in tourism revenue. Airlines have slashed fares, and Maui resorts have lowered rates by up to 20%, with some offering a fifth night free.