Amazon Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos and fiance Lauren Sanchez, vice chair of the Bezos Earth Fund, have pledged to donate $100 million to help rebuild Maui after wildfires devastated the island. More than 90 people have died, thousands have been displaced and buildings and businesses have burnt down, making it one of the worst natural disasters to hit the US.
Ms. Sanchez took to social media to announce that she and the former Amazon CEO are ”heartbroken” by the destruction and are creating a fund to help the Hawaiian island ”get back on its feet.”
”The immediate needs are important, and so is the longer-term rebuilding that will have to happen – even after much of the attention has subsided. Jeff and I are creating a Maui Fund and are dedicating $100 million to help Maui get back on its feet now and over the coming years as the continuing needs reveal themselves,” Ms. Sanchez wrote on Instagram on Friday.
See the post here:
Notably, Jeff Bezos, the third richest man in the world, owns a 14-acre estate on La Perouse Bay on the south shore of Maui worth $78 million, as per People. The estate is roughly 20 miles away from where fires are currently burning in South Maui.
Meanwhile, other celebrities have also pitched in for relief efforts. Oprah Winfrey, a Maui resident, purchased aid for evacuees at shelters across the island earlier this week.
The fires that started on Tuesday night, August 8, are yet to be brought under complete control by the crews. The Hawaii fire, so far, ranks as the second deadliest in the past 100 years, trailing California’s Camp Fire, in November 2018.
As per the U.S. Forest Service, nearly 85% of U.S. wildfires are caused by humans, while natural causes include lightning and volcanic activity.
Research scientist at the Yale School of the Environment, Jennifer Marlon in an interview with CNN said that such strange events are becoming common due to climate change. According to the research scientist, Hawaii fires are fueled by a combination of strong winds and dry conditions, which get complicated by the island’s geography.
President Joe Biden has declared Maui a major disaster area, paving the way for federal assistance.
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