Authorities in Maui recently announced that the death toll from the Lahaina wildfire has dropped from 115 to 97.
The revised figures came after forensic tests recognized duplicates in a catalog of remains. Officials said that this can happen when multiple agencies are working on the recovery efforts.
One Filipino in Oahu who helped in organizing donations for those affected expressed sadness over the many lives lost.
“Anytime a death is announced, it's hard to process," said Gabrielle Pascual. "It's hard to think that many people have been affected, how many families, lives have been lost from this.”
Of the 97 fatalities, at least 14 are of Filipino ethnicity, with four being Philippine passport holders.
"We found that many of them are U.S. citizens already," said Emilio Fernandez, the Philippine Consul General in Honolulu, "immigrants or maybe even second, third generation immigrants already.”
But with a large number of Filipinos in Lahaina, some fear that more could have died.
“There's anticipation that we're going to see more than 14 Filipino-American family members that have been lost," said former Lahaina resident Tiffany Somera. "I feel it in my gut. It's sad. There's no words, just grief.”
Maui authorities officially identified 74 out of the 97 fatalities. In addition to the revised data, officials also said that the number of unaccounted for individuals has dropped to 31.