Local Hawaiians have called upon some of Maui’s resident billionaire class to help them as wildfires devastate areas of the island beyond recognition.
Jeff Bezos, Oprah, and Larry Ellison represent some of the biggest names to have homes on the island paradise along with Clint Eastwood, Steven Tyler, and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mack. Since the outbreak of the devastating fire on Tuesday, which has claimed over 50 lives while leaving hundreds homeless, residents have been openly asking for help.
Lauren Sanchez, the fiancée of Jeff Bezos, who owns a $78 million property on Maui, issued a statement on her social media in which she called the tragedy “heartbreaking” while thanking people for helping out in the recovery efforts.
“The tragedy unfolding in Maui is beyond heartbreaking. Jeff and I have been on the phone with local residents and officials, and will be making donations to help. Thank you to everyone there helping with recovery efforts on the ground and supporting those who are struggling,” she said.
A source close to Bezos and Sanchez later told the Daily Mail that the couple is “devastated” by the disaster and plans to step up relief efforts with local officials.
“They have been on the phone with locals and local officials since yesterday. They will be making donations to help the community,” the source said.
Oprah, who owns 2,000 acres of land on Maui and has been living there part-time for 15 years, has not yet issued a statement as to how she plans to help the locals damaged by the fire. As the New York Post reported, Oprah owns three properties on the island as fires currently threaten her ranch in Kula.
“This past February, she paid $6.6 million for 870 acres of land in Kula, an area in central Maui sandwiched between the South Maui and Upcountry wildfires,” noted the Post. “At least two homes had been destroyed in Kula and some 80 people were evacuated from 40 homes, fire officials told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.”
The celebrity most affected by the fire appears to be Mick Fleetwood, who has called the town of Lahaina his home for decades. His local restaurant, Fleetwood’s on Front Street, burned to the ground.
“This is a devastating moment for Maui, and many are suffering unimaginable loss,” Fleetwood said. “Fleetwood’s on Front Street has been lost and while we are heartbroken, our main priority is the safety of our dear staff and team members.”
“On behalf of myself and my family, I share my heartfelt thoughts and prayers for the people of Maui,” he said. “We are committed to supporting the community and those affected by this disaster in the days and months and years to come.”
Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who owns a home on Maui and owns 98 percent of the nearby Lanai Island, has not yet issued a statement on the matter.
Aquaman star Jason Momoa, a native Hawaiian, has repeatedly shared links on his social media accounts about the fundraising efforts. Singer Bette Midler, also a homeowner in Hawaii, has been regularly sharing updates about the relief efforts.
The beautiful island of #Maui in the most beautiful state in the union, is suffering. My family and I send our deepest and most profound sympathies to everyone who has lost anything or everything in the #MauiFires.
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) August 10, 2023
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