Officials believe that any remains that can be identified have likely already been recovered. As a result, the focus is shifting towards removing hazardous waste and ensuring the safety of residents so that they can return to their homes. Darryl Oliveira, the interim administrator of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, announced this transition during a press conference.
The next phase will involve hazardous waste removal, a job that will be carried out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Urban search and rescue teams have completed their mission in the designated area, although some search activity continues in the ocean off Lahaina, led by the FBI. Despite an extensive search, no human remains have been discovered at this time. There are currently 110 missing persons reports filed with Maui police, with more than 50 remaining as open cases that are actively being investigated.
Pelletier also requested the public’s trust and patience as officials continue to identify remains and review the lists of missing individuals. So far, 45 of those killed have been identified and their loved ones notified. In order to identify additional victims, DNA samples from 120 individuals have been collected and more are still being obtained.