US president vows to visit Hawaii soon

United States (US) President Joe Biden says he will travel to Hawaii “as soon as he can” following the deadly wildfires.

Speaking in Milwaukee yesterday, Biden said he wanted to ensure that the people in the state had “everything they need”.

Nearly 100 people have so far been confirmed dead in the fires.

The president has come under increasing criticism from locals who felt the federal government’s response to the disaster was slow.

Biden said he hadn’t yet visited because of concerns that doing so would divert resources and attention from the humanitarian response. Jill Biden will accompany him to Hawaii.

“I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas,”Biden said. “I want to be sure we don’t disrupt ongoing recovery efforts.”

Over 500 federal emergency personnel have so far been dispatched to help with relief efforts, including 150 search and rescue specialists.

Additional personnel are being sent to Maui to help those already on the ground, Biden added.

He said that “all available federal assets” in the region will be used for recovery efforts, including the US military and Coast Guard.

“It’s painstaking work. It takes time and it’s nerve wracking,” the president said. (BBC)

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