At this point we all are well aware of the devastating fires that ripped through West Maui, Aug. 8th, 2023. Conspiracies abound regarding how this fire started, why the emergency sirens were deliberately not sounded, why the water was not available to the fire fighters, why the police appeared to purposefully block escape routes, especially along the populated and Historic, Front Street…And I am watching and listening to locals who were at ground ZERO with great interest. But, today, I don’t want to talk about any of that. I am wanting, needing to discuss the children.

Lahaina has a population of roughly 13,261 with approx. 3,315 of these being children under 18. Lahaina is a tourist town and the majority of parents that live in this quaint, old historic oasis work in the tourist industry, either in hotels, restaurants, bars, local shops, etc. Most of these people both work and rely on their “Ohana” family to watch their children when they are at work. The people of Maui are tight knit so even if you are not related by blood, it is not uncommon for the elderly in the community to adopt anyone who lives on the tiny island without a family.

On that fateful, horrific day there were many children left with their elderly Ohana and in some cases children were home alone while both parents were working. Which brings me back to the question, how many children are missing? There are reports stating that almost 900 to over 1000 people are missing, but we are not hearing anything about missing children. Why is that? If I were a parent and my child was missing for any amount of time, let alone almost 2 weeks, I would take to social media and blast their picture, and plead to my community to help me find my missing child. WHY are we not hearing from any of these parents? Just a few days ago Richard Bissen, the recently elected Mayor of Lahaina came under great scrutiny from frustrated locals and journalists when he was asked the same question that is on everyone’s mind—HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE MISSING?

When Hawaii Governor, Josh Green was asked on CBS news about a comment made by a Maui official that “a large number of the dead may have actually been children…” The Governor validated that statement.

In this interview, Green states that there are about 1050 people still missing. Now if, “a large number” of those missing are children and presumed to have perished in the fire, how many is that large number and WHY are we not hearing from hundreds of grieving parents? This is really quite mind blowing! Just think about it…we have heard dozens upon dozens of personal horror stories from survivors and those who have lost loved ones and friends, but only two stories of children dying in the fire, and they are extremely painful ones.

No one wants to hear the pain of a parent losing a child first hand, it is gut wrenching. But the stark reality remains, many of those who died on that terrible day were children…where are the grieving parents imploring on social media that their children be found? Where are the voices of the hundreds of parents or their Ohana’s reaching out on social media who haven’t giving up hope that their beloved children may still be alive? Where are they?

Has the local government silenced them? If so, for what reason? Why would anyone silence the voices of desperate parents and family members searching for their children? Why is no one talking about their missing children in West Maui?