Statement from WHIAANHPI Co-Chair Katherine Tai Regarding the Wildfires on Maui

August 15, 2023

WASHINGTON – Ambassador Katherine Tai, the co-chair of the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), today released the following statement:
My heart goes out to the families affected by the devastating wildfires on Maui. The loss is incalculable and unimaginable—residents on the island are left grieving not only for their loved ones, but also their homes, livelihoods, communities, and historical spaces.
This tragedy has dealt a significant blow to the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities that call Maui home. AA and NHPI people are disproportionately impacted by severe climate events, and this disaster is no different.
At President Biden’s directive, the Biden-Harris Administration is coordinating with state and local officials and has deployed hundreds of Federal personnel to Maui to assist those in need.  We have launched a whole-of-government effort to provide resources, support displaced and impacted communities, and begin the long-term recovery. Our teams will continue to support the residents of Hawai’i for as long as it takes.
Local and national Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters are providing emergency assistance to survivors. Those seeking to donate to the recovery efforts can visit
The Biden-Harris Administration encourages those impacted by the disaster to register for Federal assistance at or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
The Disaster Distress Helpline is available to help 24/7 if you or a loved one are feeling stress, anxiety, or loss. Call or text 1-800-985-5990 for support.
Additional information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s response to the Maui wildfires can be found here.
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), established by President Biden through Executive Order 14031, is charged with coordinating a whole-of-government agenda to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities. Learn more.