WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden heads to Hawaii on Monday to see firsthand the damage from the deadliest wildfires in the US in more than a century.
The death toll surpassed 100 on Tuesday and authorities warned that cadaver dogs had reached less than half of homes and businesses burned.
Biden will meet with first responders, survivors and federal, state and local officials, the White House said.
“I want to go and make sure we have everything they need,” Biden said during a visit to Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Some Republican lawmakers had criticized Biden for spending the past weekend at his Delaware beach house and not speaking publicly about the growing tragedy following his initial comments last week.
The Lahaina fire, one of several fires that began burning on Maui on Aug. 8, destroyed nearly every building in that historic city.
“An entire city destroyed. Generations of Native Hawaiian history turned into ruin,” Biden said Tuesday. “Imagine being a mother or father wondering where your child is. Imagine being a husband or wife or mother or father. It’s really hard stuff.”
Residents said they received little or no warning in the hours and minutes before the fires swept through their neighborhoods.
Now at 106, the number of fatalities could double or even triple, Hawaii Governor Josh Green has said.
Green has said it will take an “incredible amount of time” for his condition to recover.
Multiple federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Coast Guard, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency assist with disaster response and recovery.
Contributors: John Bacon.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden heads to Hawaii to assess damage from deadly wildfires