The head of emergency management for Maui, a Hawaiian island, has stepped down from his position due to health reasons. This move comes amidst increasing criticism over his choice to forgo the use of warning sirens as wildfires approached residential areas.
Local authorities have stated that Herman Andaya, the administrator of Maui County Emergency Management Agency, handed in his resignation to the mayor of the county on Thursday, with immediate effect.
Andaya expressed in a press conference the day prior that he has no regrets about his decision to not activate the sirens. As per The BBC, he explained that the siren system is primarily intended for tsunamis, not wildfires, and pointed out that "the public is accustomed to seeking higher ground when the siren is activated."
According to him, had the siren been activated, individuals would have headed toward the mountainside. Nevertheless, a video released by local authorities three years ago appears to challenge this assertion. The video clarifies that the sirens are intended for use in various emergencies, including wildfires.
The mayor of Maui expressed his intent to swiftly select a successor for Andaya, given the seriousness of the crisis.
Officials have verified a total of 111 fatalities resulting from the catastrophe, with 40 percent of the severely impacted region having undergone search and assessment thus far.
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