Hope is tough to let go after Maui fireplace, as odds wane over reuniting with still-missing family members

The days of ready have develop into tougher and tougher as the chances develop longer and longer, however Kevin Baclig stays undeterred in his seek for his spouse and her mother and father, lacking since Aug. 8 when a wildfire engulfed and flattened the Hawaiian city of Lahaina.

He has gone trying from one shelter to a different, hoping strangers would possibly acknowledge the faces on the flyers he brings with him. Baclig, 30, has pushed forwards and backwards to Lahaina, desperately scouting for something which may lead him to his spouse, Angelica, and her mother and father, Joel and Adela Villegas. Six different relations who lived subsequent door additionally stay unaccounted for.

“I’m not going to give up until I see them,” he mentioned. “Of course I’m hoping to find them alive. … What else can I do?”

Even as he tries to sound optimistic, his voice is subdued.

“I’ve been looking out and looking out — in Lahaina, in all places,” Baclig said, speaking in Ilocano, a dialect of the northern Philippines.

The blaze took scores of lives and destroyed hundreds of homes, including the house Baclig’s family bought three years ago on Kopili Street, about a 15-minute walk to historic Front Street, which was littered with burned-out vehicles after the fire.

The remains of 114 people have been found, most of them yet to be identified. And Hawaii Gov. Josh Green has said the death toll will rise for the foreseeable future as the painstaking search for remains continues in the heaps of rubble and ash in Lahaina, a seaside community of 12,000 and a tourist hotspot on Maui.

Officials acknowledge they don’t have a firm number on the missing. Many initially listed as unaccounted for have since been located.

Police Chief John Pelletier said earlier in the week that authorities will do their best to track down the missing. “But I can’t promise that we’re gonna get them all,” he said.

On the day before the fire, Po’omaika’i Estores-Losano, a 28-year-old father of two, wished aloha to his ohana, the Hawaiian word for family. “Another beautiful day in Hawaii,” he wrote on Facebook, ending his post by urging his circle to “have fun, enjoy,” and to by no means be “sad and grumpy.”

He is among the many lacking. His household has scoured the island in search of him, checking hospitals and shelters. Without a automobile, Estores-Losano would have needed to outrun the hearth and smoke.

“We don’t want him to think we stopped looking for him,” mentioned Ku’ulei Barut, who final spoke to her brother the day earlier than he went lacking.

His mom, Leona Castillo, desires to hold on to the likelihood that her son remains to be alive, however she is aware of she could need to face a actuality she’s not but prepared to simply accept. Last week, because the discuss of physique counts intensified, she obtained herself swabbed for DNA.

“We don’t want him to be lost,” she said. “If we don’t get his body back, he’ll just be lost.”

In the days after the fire, there was chaos and confusion, with so many families looking for missing loved ones. Castillo said she was relieved for friends and neighbors who were reunited with loved ones.

But she wondered when would it be her turn.

“I just want closure,” she said.

Ace Yabes is also waiting for word about his relatives — nine in all who are missing, including Angelica Baclig and her family.

Her husband, a nurse at a skilled nursing facility, was at work when the fire raced down from the hills and into town, igniting nearly everything in its path.

“I’ve been searching all the shelters, hotels, possible places they might go — I’ve gone to all of them. I’ve gone to the houses of their friends,” he mentioned. “I’ve reported them missing to the MPD (Maui Police Department), to the FBI. I’ve been showing their pictures.”

Baclig, who’s staying with mates in Kahalui on the northern flank of the island, holds out hope as he searches.

Maybe of their haste to flee, none had the time to seize their cellphones — which could clarify why Baclig has but to get a name. Maybe they’re in search of him, too, and uncertain about his whereabouts.

He has been praying for assist.

“Lord, guide me in everything,” he wrote Thursday on Facebook. “I don’t know what to do.”

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