The wildfires in Maui caused widespread destruction on the island and claimed the lives of 97 people. The Maui Police Department and the FBI have released the list of 31 individuals still unaccounted for following the fire. Yet an Instagram post falsely claims “over 1,000 children are missing.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency operates a Disaster Recovery Center on Maui and has approved $7 million in assistance to thousands of wildfire survivors. Online videos, however, are sharing a fabricated tale about FEMA’s operations, including a “shootout” with U.S. Marines. The bogus story originated on a satirical website.
The White House declared the site of the Maui wildfires a disaster area, and the Department of Defense has provided more than 400 troops, air support and other resources in firefighting and recovery efforts. Yet posts on Instagram misrepresent the federal response and one falsely claimed “the military is standing down.”