Monday, November 13, 2023

Immigrants Recovering from Fire on Maui

Hawaii has long been a place that welcomes migrants: from Chinese, Japanese, Portugese, and Filipino laborers in the sugar can fields to mainlanders looking for a more relaxed life style. In recent years, there has been more migration to work in hotels and the landscaping and restaurants that comprise the tourist industry. This is especially true in the Lahaina district of Maui that was devastated by fire and los of lives over the summer. Indeed, nearly one-third of Lahaina's residents are foreign-born. They are from Asian countries and also Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras.

This New York Times story by Tim Arango provides a fascinating look into the collission of migration with the Maui fire and how migrants are deciding where to rebuild their lives. An excerpt:

Many immigrants who are mourning loved ones also lost homes and the years’ worth of wages and tips they had stashed in them. They wonder where they will work and live in the short term, and many are considering leaving Lahaina.

“This is who runs this tourism-based economy,” Mr. Ganaden said. “So if we don’t support them, then we can’t get this economy back on track.”

Because many of those who perished or were displaced by the fire came from somewhere else, the shadow of grief extends to other countries.


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