Letter From America

Marion McKeone: Disaster vultures quick to swoop on Hawaiians’ misery

Predatory speculators made rich by lowballing the vulnerable with pitiful cash offers for distressed or destroyed properties already have their sights on those who lost their homes in Lahaina’s deadly wildfires

Destroyed homes and buildings on the waterfront burned to the ground in Lahaina in the aftermath of wildfires in western Maui, Hawaii. Picture: Getty

A week after Hawaii’s deadly wildfires ravaged the historic town of Lahaina, it is clear the human toll of America’s deadliest wildfire in more than a century may not be known for some time. More than 100 people have been confirmed dead, an estimated 1,200 are missing and 2,000 homes have been destroyed – leaving at least 12,000 people homeless.

Disasters are horribly inequitable. Government agencies talk about rebuilding, making communities more resilient and families ...