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CSU East Bay professor using network to help Maui wildfire victims

Rescue and recover crews continue to sift through what’s left of Lahaina, where more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the former capital of Hawaii were reduced to rubble.

The Maui wildfires are the deadliest in U.S. modern history, claiming at least 96 lives. The number is expected to rise even further because less than 10% of the burned-out communities has been searched. Back in the Bay Area, a California State University East Bay professor who grew up on the island is trying to help family and friends there.

“We’re all very connected,” said Dr. Mia Livaudais, a CSU East Bay professor. “Our friends in Lahaina have all lost their homes. Multiple friends have lost their livelihoods.”

Livaudais grew up in Kihei on Maui and has been in constant contact with dozens of family and friends. She is trying to help from afar by connecting those on social media with her network of loved ones willing to help.

“When I see someone who is in need, I’m texting them where and who has diapers, who has formula,” Livaudais said.

The professor said the community is much more than just a vacation paradise — it holds so much history in the buildings, land, and people. She also adds the locals are as close as they come.

“Multiple generations have lived there on this land,” Livaudais said. “The pain and the heaviness of having this all gone is massive.”

Many impacted the wildfire need basic necessities like food, water, and clothes. And longer term, there is concern about where those families who have lost everything will live.

“Those who are not affected by the fires, they’re hosting these families, they’re feeding these families,” Livaudais said. “We’re all organizing to try and protect them as much as we can and create an environment where they’ll be able to heal and keep their land and rebuild what they’ve lost.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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