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How did the Maui fires affect American pockets? 

The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engulfed in flames along Wainee Street on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Matthew Thayer/The Maui News via AP)

On August 8th, 2023, fatal fires broke out in Maui killing over 100 people, with thousands of residents having to evacuate the town. Over 2,700 buildings were burned, leaving the people of Maui stranded and destitute. There are still many people classified as missing due to the disaster leaving many unidentifiable bodies. 1 The United States government provided some relief and recovery packages to those who were directly affected by the fires. It may seem that the fires had no effect on the entirety of the United States, but that notion would be false.  

Maui is one of the biggest tourist areas in the state of Hawaii. The state is still facing major losses from the Covid-19 pandemic and the fires have only intensified the pain. Maui contributes to the U.S. economy through tourism, agriculture, and real estate. Their main business is tourism and recently with the lifted pandemic restrictions, the economy was getting back on track to where it was in 2019.  Tourism is a significant source of revenue, with visitors coming to enjoy its beautiful beaches, fun resorts, and cultural attractions. The money spent by tourists directly benefits the U.S. economy and the loss of that revenue affects the entirety of the nation. With the fire, many jobs and workers were lost, affecting the industry in this area.  Products and resources that are produced in Maui are not easily obtained nor are they a product for consumption at the moment.

Not only does the fire affect industry but it also hurts the federal budgets and financial priority of distribution. The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, approved more than $5.6 million in assistance to those affected by the wildfires. The White House also approved only a $700 payment to each of the families to cover basic needs.2 However, $700 will not suffice for those who no longer have a living space, job, or any other basic living necessities. To get more funding for those affected, the government needs to allocate more money for aid. Another way people have been able to help is through fundraising and donations. People have taken this issue into their own hands for the betterment of humanity. Many humanitarian non-profits have started funds to help with relief because of the lack of help from the government.  

Overall, the Maui fires mainly affect those who are involved directly but in the macroeconomic perspective there will be other effects. Citizens don’t need to worry about taxes being raised or anything of that nature as there hasn’t been much money spent by the government on this crisis. Thus, our pockets will not be affected unless one chooses to help by donating directly to the cause.  





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About the Contributor
Jaselin Petty, News Writer
Jaselin is a senior in the IB programme at Richwoods. She loves reading with her five cats. She wants to become a lawyer after high school, and she is also a captain of the dance team.

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