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Andaya steps down as Maui County EMA director amid scrutiny

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(The Center Square) – Maui County Emergency Management Agency Director Herman Andaya cited health reasons behind his decision to resign from his post.

Andaya faced questions from reporters at a Wednesday news conference as to why emergency sirens were not used to alert residences about the fires that ravaged the county and left 114 people dead.

“The sirens are used primarily for tsunamis and that’s the reason why many of them are found, almost all of them are found on the coast line,” Andaya said at a news conference. “The public is trained to seek higher ground…if a siren is sounded. Had we sounded the siren that night, we were afraid that people would have gone mauka,” a phrase meaning upwards to the mountains.

Andaya’s resignation is effective immediately, according to Mayor Richard Bissen.

“Given the gravity of the crisis we are facing, my team and I will be placing someone in this key position as quickly as possible and I look forward to making that announcement soon,” Bissen said in a social media post.

President Joe Biden will visit Maui on Monday. State officials said it would take billions of dollars and years for Maui to recover from the fire.

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