WILDFIRES IN MAUI razed houses and commercial buildings
HONOLULU — Two more Filipinos were found to have died in the Maui wildfires bringing to eight the fatalities of Filipino descent in the ongoing search and recovery operation there as scores more were still missing.
The latest fatalities added to the list have been identified as Rogelio Mabalot, 68, a native of Laoag City, and Pablo Pagdilao III, 75, originally from Pinili, Ilocos Norte.
Mabalot’s daughter Richelle confirmed Rogelio’s passing through a Facebook post, GMA News reported, adding the confirmation came after their DNA samples were matched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Rogelio was last seen on August 8 at 3:30 p.m. near the Banyan Tree in Lahaina.
Many other residents of Lahaina, some of them Filipinos or Filipino Americans, are still missing.
The Maui wildfires fanned by winds of a distant hurricane erupted August 8 and razed1,000 buildings and left thousands homeless in Maui.
Last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that a 79-year-old American of Filipino descent was among the over 100 fatalities in the wildfires.
Earlier reports indicated the number of Filipino and FilAm fatalities may still rise as Philippine Consul General in Honolulu Emil Fernandez said there could possibly be around 100 Filipino and Filipino-American individuals among the over 850 people who are still being sought.
This as the recovered death toll has now reached 114, with the Maui Coroner’s Office establishing a command post to process the bodies found. The American Red Cross has initiated a mass fatality operation to expedite the identification of the recovered bodies.
There are still around 1,000 individuals missing, and authorities do not yet have a definitive list of how many are unaccounted for.
According to ConGen Fernandez, the Philippine Consulate as ordered by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is ready to assist Filipino citizens or Filipino immigrants who need medical or financial assistance.
Fernandez said the Consulate will also assist Filipinos who are US citizens who require repatriation of remains back to the Philippines or who are searching for their families.
Citing the 2020 US state census, the DFA said there are about 388,000 individuals in Hawaii who identify themselves as Filipino or part-Filipino.
Of this number, about 200,000 have parents who are both Filipinos but only 16 percent are Philippine passport holders.