As residents and stakeholders connected to the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii work to rebuild, recover, identify missing people and figure out how to move forward, frustration with the federal government’s response is growing.
President Joe Biden tried to explain why the process is working the way it is, and what the federal government is willing to do to help the island’s residents.
“I want to be clear with the people of Maui about what to expect from them. The work we are doing will take time,” Biden said on Wednesday.
“We’re doing everything we can,” the president said while answering questions from reporters at the White House. “It’s really tough.”
Acknowledging the high level of anger from many Hawaii residents over the federal response, Biden said the timeline is “going to be frustrating as hell for people.”
The president made the remarks while also speaking on the federal response to Hurricane Idalia. He said he had just finished speaking with the governors of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, where the storm made landfall.
Crews in Hawaii have spent weeks searching for victims after devastating wildfires ravaged parts of the island. Officials called off those searches on Wednesday, making the fire the deadliest US wildfire in more than a century.
After three weeks of searching, the death toll stands at 115, yet the government is still unclear on exactly how many people were killed.