Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen extended condolences on Sunday for those in Hawaii who have suffered from the massive forest fire in the U.S. state.
The death toll stood at 96 on Sunday night, with officials warning it would climb higher after fires raged across the island of Maui in the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century.
“On behalf of the state and people of Israel I express heartfelt condolences to the people of Hawaii over the devastating destruction and loss of life caused by the wildfires,” said Cohen.
“Israel stands with Hawaii and offers its hand in support at this difficult time,” he added.
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said on Sunday that more than 2,700 structures had been destroyed or damaged in West Maui—most of them residential buildings. Maui County estimated that some 4,500 residents are in need of shelter.
“The losses approach $6 billion in estimate,” said Green, adding that it will take “an incredible amount of time” to recover.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimated the fire damage at $5.6 billion
The wildfire razed the town of Lahaina on the western side of the island, leading to questions about the response from authorities. According to Adam Weintraub, communication director for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, none of the sirens in the state’s integrated outdoor warning system were activated, including the 80 sirens in Maui—the second largest island on the Hawaii archipelago.
Hawaii has the largest outdoor siren system in the world, with around 400 alarms across the state.
U.S. President Joe Biden called the situation a major disaster last Thursday. That action makes federal funding available to affected persons in Maui County.
The Jewish community was pitching in to help too. Chabad centers across Hawaii were offering vital services—from kosher meals and Shabbat services to emotional support.