The government of South Korea has committed $2 million in aid to Hawaii to support relief efforts in Maui. This comes as Hawaii continues to battle active wildfires caused by Hurricane Dora, and authorities work to assess the damage caused by the deadliest wildfire in U.S. history. According to the latest reports, 99 people have died in the Maui wildfires.
Acting Governor Sylvia Luke has issued a third emergency proclamation (EP) in response to the ongoing wildfire disaster in Maui and Hawai’i counties. This third proclamation extends the emergency period through August 31st, extending the August 15th end date in the second proclamation. Furthermore, the EP declares a state of emergency for all counties, discourages unnecessary air travel to Maui, and orders all state agencies to assist with evacuation efforts.
So, note that until the end of the month, it is unsafe to travel to Maui.
Maui Wildfire Updates
The Upcountry/Kula fire, first reported on August 8th, was 65% contained as of 7 p.m. on August 14th. It has affected an estimated 678 acres. Difficulties in establishing complete control lines arise from hot spots in hard-to-reach areas such as gulches, land divisions, and fences.
The Lahaina fire, reported on August 8th, was 85% contained and has impacted approximately 2,170 acres. Multiple fire crews are assigned to closely monitor the situation and address flare-ups. There are no active threats at this time.
“The wildfires on Maui have ripped through the town of Lahaina with devastating consequences, and we are immensely saddened by the loss of life, homes, and historical and cultural sites,” Jonathan Yukio Clark, director of the Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.
Among the attractions destroyed by wildfires in Lahaina, there are Lahaina’s Front Street, the Na ‘Aikane o Maui Cultural Center, the 1912 twoLahaina’s Hing Temple MuseumNa’ 150-year-old banyan tree, the Old Lahaina Courthouse (which also housed the Lahaina Heritage Museum), the Baldwin House (dating from 1834, and considered the oldest home in Maui), Waiola Church, and Lahaina Hongwanji Mission among many others, including also homes, businesses, and historic places.
The Pulehu/Kihei fire remains fully contained. It was officially declared contained on August 12th. Fire personnel remain vigilant to prevent flare-ups, but there are currently no active threats.
As for the Puʻukoliʻi / Kaanapali fire, which was first reported on August 11th, it affected a single acre of land. The fire was extinguished on August 12th.
South Korea’s $2M Pledge for Maui
The South Korean Consulate in Honolulu stated that the $2 million in aid would help the state government handle the aftermath of the disaster and aid residents in returning to their everyday lives. Additionally, it aims to strengthen the friendly and cooperative relationship between the two countries.
Hawaii holds a special significance in the alliance between the United States and South Korea, which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary. The South Korean Consulate emphasized that this aid is significant as Hawaii is where Korean immigration to the United States began in 1903.
Koreans initially migrated to Hawaii to work on plantations, but the islands became a refuge for Korean revolutionaries escaping Imperial Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula. Hawaii also played a pivotal roJapan’she the Korean independence movement. Notably, one of the exiled revolutionaries, Syngman Rhee, returned after World War II to become the controversial first President of the Republic of Korea.
South Korea and Hawaii maintain a strong connection even today. According to the latest data from the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, South Korea holds the second position as Hawaii’s source of international imports and ranks sixth as an international market. Many goods are shipped between Hawaii and South Korea, including car parts, fuel, food, cosmetics, etc.
According to the South Korean Consul General of Honolulu, Lee Seo Young, the alliance between the ROK and the U.S. has played a significant role in the Republic of Korea’s rise to become the 10th most considerable economic power worldwide.
Of the $2 million pledge, $1.5 million will be provided in cash, according to official sources cited by Star Adviser. The remaining $500,000 will be used to purchase essential supplies such as drinking water, food, blankets, and other necessities from local Korean markets.