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Indiana residents are helping those impacted by the wildfires in Maui



Indianapolis, Indiana – Former residents of the Hawaiian islands who now reside in Indiana are suffering from the destruction while being thousands of miles away.

At least 59 fatalities had been recorded by Friday night, mostly among those attempting to flee flames on Tuesday night. According to Gov. Josh Green, it may end up being the worst natural disaster to ever affect Hawaii.

“It’s such a tragedy what’s going on in Maui and especially for us islanders who are far away,” Noel Sawada, Indianapolis resident, said Friday.

Years ago, Sawada relocated to the Midwest from Hilo, Hawaii.

He claims that the widespread power outages have prevented him from reaching a friend.

“Uncle Benny, I just hope that you can hear this, but our thoughts and prayers go out to you. I hope that you and your Ohana are doing well. I want to make sure that you’re safe along with your family,” Sawada said.

He claims that the old downtown of Lahaina, which he finds to be a really special area, has been destroyed by the wildfire.

“I know that tourists were also caught up, but for the local people who live there, it’s really heartbreaking to see what’s going on,” Sawada said.

Tom Rosenow, a business owner, said, “The banyan tree at the courthouse. How marvelous that tree is and how long it’s been there, and then to watch it be charred. The question is will it grow? Will it stay alive? I don’t know. I hope it does.”

With its Hawaiian cuisine and vibrant decorations, the A2Z Cafe on the northeast part of the city pays respect to the territory.

People are being urged by the family business to support the islanders.

“Don’t fall for the scammers on the internet and everything else. Give to the Red Cross, give to the Hawaiian Community Fund. Give, give, give. Try to help these people as best you can. Everything there pretty much has to be shipped in,” Rosenow said.

Sawada said, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, and we just really are reaching out to people to show an outpouring of support in any way that you can financially, prayers, [and] best wishes.”

In general, these locals express optimism that Maui will bounce back from this fire due to the island’s feeling of family and community.