The provisional human toll from the fires in Hawaii has been revised downwards and fell to 97 deaths, compared to 115 victims previously announced by the authorities, the governor of the American archipelago, Josh Green, said on Friday, September 15.

“That number went down a little bit because the Department of Defense and all of their forensic experts were able to help us better discern who was in the cars or in the houses,” he explained in a video posted on social networks. “Thank God fewer people died. »

The Democrat, who was an emergency doctor before entering politics, did not give additional details to understand how bodies could have been counted by mistake.

So far, only 74 people have been identified out of the 97 bodies found. Furthermore, 31 are still missing – compared to several hundred just a few weeks ago – he added. The true extent of the tragedy is still not known.

The management of the authorities highly criticized

Since the fire that almost razed the tourist town of Lahaina, on the island of Maui, on August 8, the search for bodies has proven difficult. The fire transformed thousands of buildings into piles of ashes, making the remains found unrecognizable. The authorities asked relatives of the missing to provide a DNA sample in an attempt to identify the victims.

The management of the authorities, which is the subject of an investigation, has been widely criticized, in particular because the warning sirens, planned in the event of a tsunami, volcanic eruption or fires, have never sounded. Many residents of Lahaina were surprised by the fire at the last moment and dozens of them had to throw themselves into the sea to escape the flames.

Some hydrants used by firefighters also ran out of water or pressure. Hawaii’s main electricity supplier, Hawaiian Electric, is also the target of multiple negligence claims because it did not cut off power despite a clear warning from the weather service.

Before the fire devoured the former capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the archipelago was on red fire alert because of violent winds fueled by Hurricane Dora, which was breaking into the Pacific a few hundred kilometers offshore.