Hawaii Governor Unveils $175M Fund Details for Compensation of Maui Wildfire Victims

LAHAINA, HAWAII - OCTOBER 09: Volunteers from Samaritan's Purse help a daughter search for family items in the rubble of her mother's wildfire destroyed home on October 09, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Hawaii’s Governor announced on Tuesday that a $175 million fund will start accepting applications by the end of the week to compensate families affected by the deadliest US wildfire in over a century.

The Maui wildfire victims’ fund will also cover the medical expenses of those who suffered severe injuries and were hospitalized.

After confirmation of eligibility by a retired Hawaii judge, families of the deceased will receive $1.5 million.

Individuals who are severely injured will be allocated a portion as decided by the judge. Maui County has officially announced the tragic loss of 101 individuals due to the devastating wildfire that ravaged the historic town of Lahaina on August 8th.

There are still two individuals unaccounted for. Green portrayed the fund as a choice for survivors who are contemplating legal action against the state of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric, or other utilities and landowners for their involvement in the fire.

Individuals who receive the fund’s money will forfeit their ability to sue the parties who donated to the fund.

Hawaiian Electric leads as the top underwriter with $75 million, followed by the state of Hawaii at $65 million, Kamehameha Schools at $17.5 million, and Maui County at $10 million.

Green mentioned that individuals who file lawsuits might have to wait for three, four, or five years to receive compensation and face high legal expenses.

“This recovery fund amounts to an offer and it’s really up to people if they choose to take this offer,” Green said at an announcement and news conference.

Several legal actions have been initiated by wildfire victims against the state, county, utilities, and landlords.

Hawaii Delays $65M Wildfire Fund, State Intervention Possible

LAHAINA, HAWAII – OCTOBER 07: In an aerial view, burned structures are seen in a neighborhood that was destroyed by a wildfire on October 07, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii.


Hawaii lawmakers have not allocated the $65 million required for the state’s portion. Green anticipates that they will take this action as it is the compassionate approach and a way for the state to avoid costly and protracted legal battles.

Even if they decline, Green stated that his emergency proclamation for the wildfire allows him to allocate the state’s portion.

Ronald Ibarra, a retired state judge who previously served as chief judge of the Third Circuit Court in Hilo, will assess claims as the fund’s administrator.

“It’s crucial to have a local individual who truly grasps the needs of our state’s residents, especially those in rural areas,” Green emphasized.

Ibarra mentioned that $25 million of the fund will be set aside for those who are seriously injured.

The speaker mentioned that an additional $10 million would be allocated to assist the injured, if funds are still available after compensating the families of the deceased.

Green mentioned that if there is any remaining money after settling all claims, it will be distributed back to the funders based on their donation amounts.

The governor mentioned that it’s doubtful all survivors will submit claims.

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