The still provisional death toll from wildfires that swept through the island of Maui last month has been revised down to 97 dead, while the number of people missing has also dropped to 31, Hawaii Governor Josh Green said. , during an interview he gave to the CNN television network yesterday Friday.

Last week, Mr Green reported 115 dead and 66 missing.

“The death toll has been reduced because we have Department of Defense anthropologists with us who are able to do more advanced analyzes of genetic material. They were able to ensure that we wouldn’t mess up in a tragic way [σ.σ. τα λείψανα] of the people we lost,” the governor said.

On August 8, a fire spread like wildfire from the foothills of a volcano to the tourist magnet town of Lahaina, destroying or damaging some 2,200 buildings.

In a video Mr Green posted on social media, he added: “Thank God less people died”.

The Democrat, who was a doctor – an intensivist – before entering politics, did not provide further details explaining how the tally was reduced.

So far, only 74 people have been identified from the 97 bodies.

After the fire nearly wiped Lahaina off the map, the search for bodies proved extremely arduous. The flames turned thousands of properties into piles of rubble and human remains are often impossible to visually identify. Authorities have repeatedly called on relatives of missing persons to provide DNA samples in the hope that they will be able to identify the dead.

The true extent of the tragedy remains to be seen.

The management of the disaster by the authorities – for which an investigation is being carried out – was criticized, especially the fact that the alarm sirens that warn in cases of tsunamis, volcanic eruptions or fires were not activated.

When they found themselves engulfed in flames without warning, dozens of residents in Lahaina jumped into the sea to save themselves.

Besides, dozens of fire hydrants that could have saved lives had no water or pressure.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui’s main electricity supplier, is facing lawsuits for negligence after it failed to turn off power when the fires broke out, making matters worse, despite warnings from the weather service.

Before the flames engulfed the former capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, a red alert had been declared in the archipelago due to the very high risk of fire, especially due to the strong winds of Hurricane Dora, which was a few hundred kilometers offshore.