Natural Disasters

Want to help survivors of the Hawaii wildfires? The ABA has options for you

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This aerial view shows the aftermath of a devastating wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, on Aug. 22. The ABA is calling on volunteers to join its response to the Maui wildfires in Hawaii. Photo by Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press.

The ABA is calling on attorneys to join the response to the Maui wildfires in Hawaii, which claimed the lives of more than 100 people and displaced thousands more earlier this month.

“The ABA is assisting with the legal needs that so often arise after these natural disasters, including FEMA financial benefits; insurance claims; and consumer issues, such as contractor fraud,” said ABA President Mary Smith in an Aug. 29 news release.

Survivors of the Maui wildfires have been encouraged to call (888) 533-2773, a telephone hotline that connects those in qualifying counties who cannot afford an attorney to representation for disaster-related legal issues.

The ABA Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services Program is partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Hawaii State Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. The Hawaii State Bar Association and Legal Aid Society of Hawaii are coordinating legal services for survivors who need help with wills or other legal documents that were destroyed in the fires; scams or identity theft; landlord/tenant or foreclosure issues; and disability-related access to federal, state and local disaster programs.

Lawyers who are not located in Hawaii but are interested in assisting with the response can access the Disaster Relief Pro Bono Portal, an online resource that outlines opportunities to address legal issues that arise from natural disasters. Specific information on how to help Hawaii wildfire survivors can be found here.

Interested lawyers can also donate to an ABA fund that will deploy pro bono attorneys to help Maui survivors with their immediate and long-term legal needs.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. Sept. 11, 2023, to include new information from the Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services Program.

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