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GLOBALink | Maui residents grapple with wildfire devastation

MAUI, Hawaii, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from the Maui wildfires in the U.S. state of Hawaii climbed to 115 as of Monday, according to a fatality update from the County of Maui.

By far, all single-storey residential properties had been searched in the disaster area. Search teams will now start to search multi-storey residential and commercial properties, according to the county.

The county has issued unsafe water alerts in Lahaina and Upper Kula, requesting residents to only use bottled water or potable water provided by tankers for drinking, brushing teeth, ice-making, food preparation and so on.

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said Monday 850 people were still missing after devastating wildfires tore through the island earlier this month, and search and rescue efforts were continuing.

More than 2,000 people were initially reported missing.

U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Maui on Monday to assess the damage of the wildfire disaster area in Lahaina and meet with survivors and first responders who were impacted by the fires.

"We will be respectful of these sacred grounds and traditions and rebuild the way the people of Maui want to build, not the way others want to build," Biden said.

The wildfires in Maui are the deadliest wildfires in the United States in more than a century, and the worst natural disaster in Hawaii's history.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

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