Looters, Speculators Descend On Hawaii Amidst Devastation

Looters, Realtors Descend On Hawaii Amidst Devastation

(USNewsBreak.com) – Wildfires began ravaging Maui on August 8, setting off a literal firestorm of destruction that ultimately destroyed Lahaina, the island’s oldest town. More than 100 people have died, and scores remain missing, with authorities expecting the death toll to rise in the coming days and weeks. While residents and business owners try to work through the wreckage, they face new risings threats in the aftermath.

Looters have apparently made their way onto the scene and begun targeting gas tanks. Business owner Bryan Sizemore said he’s been trying to keep away those who would loot his business, according to NBC News. Some are even drilling holes into gas tanks and siphoning the liquid. Others are so desperate for food and necessities they’re robbing people at gunpoint. The police and military presence isn’t deterring these incidents.

Barrett Procell, a Lahaina resident, said, “the police won’t let people drive in to give [survivors] necessities,” which has led many to “turn to desperate measures,” according to Fox News. Assailants have also robbed those who flew in to help at gunpoint, and looters are digging through the remaining rubble to take what they can grab and carry.

Land speculators have also become a concern. Typically, speculators include people who buy up cheap land — like damaged properties worth little at the time — and turn around and sell them later for significant profits.

Governor Josh Green (D) visited the island on Saturday, August 12, and noted that 86% of the destroyed structures were residential, according to Fox News. The fires aren’t completely out, either. Firefighters had contained more than 85% of the Lahaina blaze as of Wednesday, August 16. It had burned over 2,000 acres. Another fire in Kula had burned nearly 700 acres, but firefighters managed to contain 75% of the wildfire. Insurance analysts have estimated the damage at around $6 billion.

Wildfires are also burning on the Big Island.

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