A Maui resident returned home from a trip to California to discover her Lahaina home was completely destroyed by the deadly wildfires.
Heather Ganis joined “The Faulkner Focus” after being reunited with her husband and son on the Hawaiian island.
“There’s nothing left, our town is devastated,” Ganis told guest host Dagen McDowell Wednesday.
The mom, whose family is currently staying at a friend’s vacation home, urged the federal government to make long-term housing their top priority in the disaster response.
“We’re all living day-to-day being told that when visitors come back that we will have to leave these vacation homes that were ignored, and we don’t know where we’re going to go.”
Ganis added that families like hers just want a “tiny bit of normalcy” and a place to stay for a “couple of weeks at a time.”
“The west side really can use some kind of schooling for our children so that they can see their friends get together, have a tiny bit of normalcy. That’s a huge, huge thing that many people are worried about for our kids.”
During the tragedy, Ganis said the town has come together for each other and the community response has been “amazing.”
“We are just in awe of the outpouring of aloha and love, and we’ve been fed, we have clothes, we have necessities because of all the people who have just rallied together to help Lahaina. And it’s just been amazing to witness. The aloha spirit is still very much alive in Hawaii.”
“Please keep us in your prayers,” she added. “This is going to be a long road.”
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier repeatedly urged “patience, prayers and perseverance” as teams painstakingly search the ashes in the seaside community for the remains of scores of victims from the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than 100 years.
The death toll still is rising as searchers find remains. Pelletier urged people to submit DNA samples to help identify family members.
“Everyone wants a number,” the police chief said of the death toll. “You want it fast. … We’re going to do it right.”
As of Wednesday, number has reached 106.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report