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Measuring physical, emotional and mental trauma


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About half of Maui residents impacted by the August wildfires say their health is worse now compared to a year ago, and more than half say they lost their jobs because of the fires. These are among the preliminary findings of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Maui Wildfire Exposure Cohort Study (MauiWES).

Over at least the next 10 years, the study aims to document the acute and chronic health impacts and social conditions caused by one of the most deadly and destructive natural disasters in Hawaiʻi history.

The MauiWES study is co-led by UH Mānoa Professors Ruben Juarez of UHERO in the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences, and Alika Maunakea of the Department of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology at the UH Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine.

The preliminary results include:

  • 49% said their health is worse than last year (prior to the wildfires)
  • 58% of participants lost their jobs because of the wildfires
  • 65% are in temporary homes
  • 24% of participants remain in their pre-wildfire homes
  • 11% have moved to new permanent homes
  • 24% remain jobless and are searching
  • 74% report a drop in their household income

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Woman is doing paperwork while a man in a "Lahaina Strong" T-shirt watches.
Paperwork is filled out at the Maui Wildfire Exposure Cohort Study.