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Residents slowly return to Lahaina for next phase in rebuilding effort

Thousands of Maui residents are still displaced, wondering when they can return home after the historic town of Lahaina was reduced to ashes.
Residents slowly return to Lahaina for next phase in rebuilding effort
Posted at 6:57 AM, Sep 12, 2023

It's been more than a month since the worst natural disaster in Hawaii's history devastated Maui. Officials believe residents may not be able to return to what's left after the fires for up to nine months.

Over the course of the last month, residents of Lahaina say they've experienced many different emotions. 

Some are still hoping to hear from loved ones as Hawaii's governor says there's still as many as 66 identified people who are missing. Others are mourning the loss of loved ones as the official death toll now sits at 115.

We first met Terry Weaver at a fundraising event just days after the fires consumed his home. He says it will just take time for the wounds to heal.

"It sounded like a war zone," he said. "... it's not easy."

SEE MORE: What is the plan to rebuild Lahaina?

Ekolu Lindsey is another victim of the disaster, and he says it's now about taking small steps and always moving forward.

"It totally sucks, but we adapt and we thrive and we move forward," he told Scripps News. "It's still surreal. It's still raw and we're still just trying to make sense of things."

Among the three residents we spoke with, they lost eight properties. Some homes. Some businesses. Yet the fact remains that even though cameras have largely left the island, the heartbreak that we saw last month is still there now.

"We try to process [and] it's difficult because we're still all grieving," Lindsey added. "Even to conceptualize rebuilding, I don't think it's time yet."

Meanwhile, officials say many people may not be able to return home until at least the spring. For many, that process heavily relies on one another.

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