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US Hawaii residents fear losing Lahaina as wildfire makes housing crisis worse

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.

1 min read
This photo released by County of Maui on Aug. 10, 2023 shows houses destroyed in a devastating wildfire on Maui Island, Hawaii, the United States. (County of Maui/Handout via Xinhua)

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.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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