WATCH: Biden FEMA Chief Can’t Explain 1,000 Missing People After Maui Wildfires

August 21, 2023

FEMA head Deanne Criswell had few answers when asked why roughly 1,000 people are still missing in the devastating Hawaii wildfires.

"There's a lot of different reasons on why people are unaccounted for," Criswell told CNN about the huge number of unaccounted people in the aftermath of the disaster.

At least 114 people are dead in Maui, making the disaster the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history. The toll could surge as authorities search the island for human remains, with nearly 1,000 people still missing.

"The unaccounted piece is just making sure that we are accounting for everybody that was reported as missing," Criswell said. "It could be that they are staying with family and friends."

The answer comes as President Joe Biden is set to visit Hawaii on Monday to survey the damage.

Biden faced criticism last week for shrugging off questions about the wildfires amid criticism over his leadership during the disaster. After he first addressed the disaster two weeks ago, Biden went four days without commenting on it again.

"No, not now," Biden on Thursday told a reporter who asked for details about his planned trip.

"I’m going to be leaving and I’ll be there on Monday," Biden added before walking away.

The president refused to give remarks on the disaster while on a weekend beach vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on August 13. "No comment," he told reporters.

Published under: Joe Biden