In a shocking turn of events, Maui County Emergency Management administrator Herman Andaya has announced his resignation. Andaya has been the target of intense scrutiny after his office failed to activate warning sirens during the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history. It seems that Andaya is taking the easy way out by stepping down due to health reasons. But let’s be real, someone should be held accountable for this massive failure.
Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen seems to have a different perspective on the matter. He stated that they will be placing someone else in the position as quickly as possible. Well, let’s see if this new person can actually do their job properly and not put people’s lives at risk.
Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya today defended the decision not to activate emergency sirens warning #Maui residents and visitors about the wildfires. Here's a clip from the press conference.
— Star-Advertiser (@StarAdvertiser) August 17, 2023
The fact that Andaya made his first public appearance at a press conference one week after the devastating blaze began is pretty telling of his lack of leadership. By then, more than 2,700 buildings were already destroyed and over $5.5 billion in property damage had occurred. And let’s not forget the tragic loss of at least 111 Maui residents, with that number expected to rise. It’s clear that the government’s response and lack of proper activation of the warning sirens played a major role in this tragedy.
Andaya’s excuse that sounding the siren would have caused people to go into the fire is just plain ridiculous. It’s common sense that if a siren is sounded, people evacuate to safer grounds. We can’t let someone like Andaya off the hook so easily. The Attorney General’s decision to appoint a third-party to investigate the response to the wildfires is a step in the right direction. We need answers and accountability, not just empty promises.
In another development, Hawaii senior water manager Kaleo Manuel has been transferred to a new position. This comes after accusations that he denied requests to release agricultural water to help fight the fire. The department’s statement defending Manuel is just a weak attempt to save face. If he did nothing wrong, why the transfer? It’s clear that there is more to this story, and we can only hope that the investigation will shed light on the truth.