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Maui disaster area curbs to be lifted in some parts starting Sept. 25

Lalaine Ignao | TFC News Honolulu

Posted at Sep 23 2023 08:39 PM

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The first zone of the impacted areas by the Lahaina wildfire is finally opening up for residents to allow them to visit their property for closure and property surveys.

The Maui Disaster Area Restrictions will be lifted for Zone 1C beginning September 25, and will be open for a limited time from Monday to Tuesday.

Those interested in getting county-issued vehicle pass can go to the Lahaina Civic Center to fill out an application.

To be eligible for a vehicle pass, applicants will need to bring an ID and documents such as utility bills or property tax records for proof of residency.

One resident shared his thoughts on the announcement.

“We mainly just want to go back and get some closure," said Lester Dumayas, "see our house again, and just hopefully we can rebuild from there.”

Many continue to wait for government to allow them back to the restricted disaster area.

In the meantime, nonprofit groups and community leaders are assisting survivors with what they need.

They are also connecting individuals to different resources and interpreters.

“A lot of them didn't know where to go to look for resources," said community organizer Nadine Ortega. "They're not plugged into social media because there's only certain ones advertising so they didn't know where to go look for those."

She added: "Limited [knowledge on] English is an issue because applying for some of these funds, I know they have been simplified, but it's still an issue for those that have English as a second language.”

Sheldon Simeon, a chef who lives in Maui, said the goal has been to help the community as they reel from the disaster.

"If it wasn't for people who are from our own town, going out of their way, and bending over backwards, even with losing everything to take care of their neighbors, a lot of this wouldn't happen," he said.

Per the last census, almost half of Lahaina's residents are of Filipino descent, with many of them having lived there for generations.

Local organizations are now asking the government for additional resources and support during this difficult time.

“We're only still everyday realizing what we need," said Debra Arellano, a Lahaina resident. "Ask me next week, ask me a month from now, the needs will change because it's just a situation, it's just evolving, day by day."

Maui County officials have urged Lahaina residents to wear proper personal protective equipment in case of any remaining dangers in the affected areas.