Fermanagh women living in Hawaii says Aloha community spirit reminds her of home after fires

A Northern Ireland women living on Hawaii has described the 'apocalyptic feeling' after wildfires hit parts of the American state.

The fires have devastated Maui.

Over 100 people have died and hundreds more still missing. DNA experts have been brought in to identify human remains.

The fires are thought to have started after high winds toppled telephone poles and power lines onto dry grasslands. Claire Mullally who is originally from Mullaghdun near Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh has been living in Hawaii for five years.

The mother of two lives near Lahaina - an area destroyed by the wild fire.

Claire Mullally and her family. Credit: UTV

She told UTV: "I just remember the apocalyptic feeling that something terrible has happened. It was really really bad."

She described how her neighbour had to watch as his car just melted in the heat. They spoke of how grateful they were to be alive.

"It still gives me shivers thinking about it," she said.

"But there's very much an Aloha spirit and seeing how much the locals gather to help together reminds me of what it's like in my little community in Mullaghdun. Everyone is so connected and hands on. There's a real supportive network there."

President Joe Biden visited the wildfire-hit island on Tuesday.

The president and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, arrived - 13 days after the fires broke out.

Claire says a lot of local relief work is happening on the ground.

"I think the main thing is people now need money," she added. "They have nothing. They don't even have ID. I just hope something good comes from all of this."

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