Television personality Oprah Winfrey and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are creating a fund for victims of the Maui wildfires that ravaged the island earlier this month and cost at least 115 people their lives.
The two celebrities announced on Thursday that they were launching the People’s Fund of Maui by donating a combined $10 million to kick things off.
“I have been meeting with people throughout the community that were impacted by the fires over the last few weeks, asking what they most needed and how I could be of service,” said Winfrey. “The main thing I’ve been hearing is their concern about how to move forward under the immense financial burden.”
“The community has come together in so many wonderful ways, and my intention is to support those impacted as they determine what rebuilding looks like for them,” she continued.
Johnson added, “As people around the world watched the catastrophic loss and devastation caused by the Maui wildfires, they also witnessed the great spirit and resilience of our Polynesian culture and the tremendous strength of the people of Maui. Even in the most difficult of times, the people of Maui come together, and we rise — that’s what makes us stronger.”
Winfrey and Johnson shared a joint video on Instagram announcing the fund and explaining more details about how it will work to help residents.
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“Every adult resident who lives in the affected area and was displaced by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula is eligible to receive $1200 per month to help them through this period of recovery,” the caption said in part. “All you have to do is go to PeoplesFundofMaui.org to apply.”
Government officials in Maui are blaming mismanagement by the utility company for the fire that devastated the community of Lahaina on August 8. Maui County filed a lawsuit against the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) on August 24, accusing it of “intentional and malicious” mismanagement of power lines.
The fires are estimated to have cost Maui County $5.5 billion in damages.