Biden ordered federal aid to supplement state and local efforts in areas affected by the fires that began Tuesday, the White House said in a statement. The move will make federal funds available to those affected in Maui County.
According to the White House, the additional assistance includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the fires.
The death toll from the Hawaii fires has risen to 36. The fires have damaged or destroyed hundreds of structures on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Officials said at least 271 structures were damaged or destroyed by the blaze.
The White House statement said that Biden approved the declaration of Hawaii as a disaster area in order to expedite the mobilization of resources so that Hawaii can be reconstructed. At least 36 people have been killed in a fire that has ripped through a resort town in Maui. pic.twitter.com/Z1qUX4nJMi
Local media said the resort town of Lahaina suffered massive damage, with part of it destroyed, and thousands of people have been evacuated.
The day before, the U.S. President ordered that all federal resources in Hawaii, including military assets, be made available to assist in wildfire response efforts. The action issued today expands federal resources available to the U.S. state.
The death toll could rise as the fires remain active, and rescue teams are searching burned areas, local officials said. Strong winds generated by Hurricane Dora are the cause of the deadly wildfires.