Maui Resident Gives Harrowing Account Of Lahaina Fire Aftermath — 'Please Help Us, We're Not Trained For This'

Residents are providing support and care as government and other aid organizations have failed to step in.

maui resident Allie Medina Evan Austen, SevenMaps / Shutterstock; @a111sen / TikTok

The destruction from the wildfires that ripped through Maui on August 8, 2023, is a weight being unjustly carried by Maui residents, as they’re left reeling, trying to care for each other in whatever ways they can.

One Maui resident gave a harrowing account of the aftermath of the Lahaina Fire, documenting both the horrific losses and chaotic emergency response.

Allie Medina has posted several TikTok videos addressing what mainstream media has appeared to ignore. In one TikTok post, Medina sat in the front seat of her truck, emotionally recounting her experience offering on-the-ground support to those affected by the disaster. 


“If you don’t know what’s going on in Maui, we are just being completely devastated right now,” Medina said, filming herself from the front seat of her truck, against a backdrop of black trash bags full of supplies for survivors. 



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Medina described how she’s been working nonstop to get supplies to people in shelters. Through tears, she stated that she and her family are safe, yet she’s witnessing firsthand the devastation around her

“Last night, they said the death toll was 80. That’s not correct,” she stated. “They’re not reporting it correctly... there’s hundreds, at least 600, if not thousands, of people who are dead in the streets, floating in the ocean. There are over 3,000 homes that have been burned to the ground.”

Medina stated, "There’s no help here on the ground. All it is, is residents pulling together." She explained that she and others have been going to Walmart and Costco to buy supplies and distribute them amongst shelters. 



“The shelters are just a mess right now,” she continued. “They’re so disorganized. We don’t have anyone from any organizations helping. I think Red Cross is here, but it’s just so unorganized. No one knows what we need.”


“And the people that are still in Lahaina, that were unable to evacuate, they don’t have gas in their cars. They can’t leave,” she said. “Where are the trained officials? We’re not trained to do this.”

Medina illustrated how the reality for survivors appears truly dystopian, as locals have been left to navigate the death and destruction for themselves, on land that’s been stripped of resources in favor of visiting tourists.

Medina said, “There’s still tourists that are here, yesterday, right off the shores of Lahaina, where people are dead, they’re floating in the ocean. There’s a tour company that brought people out here to snorkel.” 

She gave a tearful and powerful call to action, asking those outside Hawaii to provide practical support while leaving Maui be.

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“If you have a trip here, don’t come,” she exclaimed. “Cancel it. There’s people complaining that their weddings were ruined. Our families are dead.”

“If you have ever visited here, if you love any of the islands, please donate. No news is showing how bad it really is. If you’ve had money to vacation here, you have $5 to send,” she ended her post.

The National Fire Protection Association has reported that the Lahaina Fire is one of the top 10 deadliest wildfires on record since 1871. CNN reported that at least 99 people have been confirmed dead, yet only around 25% of the fire zone had been searched as of Monday, August 14, 2023. “It is a tragedy beyond tragedies,” Hawaii Governor Josh Green stated.

The value of social media posts like the ones made by Medina showcases the failures of the government and other aid organizations, alongside the acts of community care that are functioning as the lifeline for survivors.


Yet the fact remains that Maui residents shouldn’t be held responsible for their own aftercare, especially as rightful inhabitants of land that’s been historically stripped of resources in a way that’s directly created this current devastation. 

Medina’s words project an undeniable truth: We all have a responsibility to support survivors of the Maui wildfires, in whatever ways we can. Because in the end, people caring for people is what will save us all.

To donate to funds that directly impact those affected by the Maui wildfires, please visit ‘Āina Momona for a list of resources.


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social justice issues pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.