The wildfires that overtook parts of Maui last week are worse than anyone could have imagined; as of this writing, 93 are confirmed dead with that toll expected to rise. That makes them the deadliest wildfires in the U.S. in more than 100 years.
There's also confusion over why aid is not arriving more quickly and whether tourists are expected to steer clear of the island (Spoiler: Yes, stay away, despite the mixed messaging). Oprah Winfrey herself, a part-time resident of Maui, visited a local shelter and reported that aid needs to be sped up to help evacuees, many of whom are being sent to the hotels that are no longer welcome to outsiders.
Local media say official word from officials has been "baffling," with mixed messaging on whether tourists will still be allowed to come to Maui. Hawaii native Jason Mamoa has said sternly that they should stay away. And that's especially true of celebrities who've been visiting or who own property there. The list of those who've been publicly shamed so far for being insensitive to the plight of survivors include Paris Hilton and her husband, Stevie Nicks (who owns a house in Maui), Nicole Scherzinger, and Kourtney Kardashian.
It's not just celebrities, though: Other visitors are stuffing their Instagrams and TikTok accounts with vacation photos, and locals are saying, "NOW IS NOT THE TIME, KNOCK IT OFF." Hotels are needed for evacuees, visitors should steer clear. Anyone with the means and the heart to help people in need can reference this spreadsheet, which outlines the plight and specific needs of more than 600 Maui citizens, along with links to crowdfunding sites or direct donations.
We can't say it any better than this resident, interviewed by the BBC, who says there are two Hawaiis at play here. Think about the victims, not your beach bod pics that need posting.