Lahaina, a historic town on Hawaii’s Maui Island in the United States, is facing “a dire and immediate housing shortage” and “a serious threat of long-term displacement” following the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century, reported The Washington Post on Monday.
“The blaze last Tuesday and Wednesday torched nearly 3,000 structures, officials said, and razed entire neighborhoods,” said the report. “It drove out residents who can trace their family history here back generations, and it immediately exacerbated an already dire housing crisis in one of America’s most expensive places.”
“Tension is growing between the many competing interests on the island — the billionaires and real estate developers who have made Maui their playground, and the longtime locals, including renters who work low-wage jobs in hotels and restaurants and Native Hawaiians, or Kanaka Maoli, for whom Lahaina is a sacred place and a cultural capital,” the report said.
Even before the wildfire, these groups were being priced out of paradise, and they are now urging one another to ignore inquiries from real estate agents who are calling with offers to buy their charred properties, it added.