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Biden will travel to Maui after deadly Hawaii wildfires

More than a week after the wildfires spread through western Maui, authorities say they’ve recovered 106 sets of human remains.
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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Maui on Monday in the aftermath of the Hawaii wildfires, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced Wednesday.

They will meet Monday with first responders, survivors and government officials, she said.

“In Maui, the President and First Lady will be welcomed by state and local leaders to see firsthand the impacts of the wildfires and the devastating loss of life and land that has occurred on the island, as well as discuss the next steps in the recovery effort,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

In the past week, Biden has been in contact with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell, Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Gov. Josh Green.

Jean-Pierre said Green “advised that the search and recovery efforts are expected to be at a stage early next week to allow for a presidential visit.”

More than a week after the wildfires spread through western Maui, authorities say they've recovered 106 sets of human remains, most of which have yet to be identified. The number could double, officials say.

Biden said Tuesday that he and the first lady would travel to Hawaii “as soon as we can.”

“I don’t want to get in the way. I’ve been to too many disaster areas,” he said. “But I want to go and make sure we got everything they need. I want to be sure we don’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.”

More than 600 federal personnel are deployed in Maui, Criswell said. FEMA has provided "50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots and 10,000 blankets and shelter supplies to the county government for distribution," the White House said.

Criswell said Wednesday of Biden's coming trip that she has “been explaining to him the dynamics of the situation on the ground and the ability to make sure that we give the space to our search and rescue teams to continue to be able to account for everybody that is missing.”

“It’s that level of hope that I think is going to really be a positive impact for this community,” she added.

Republicans had criticized Biden for not talking about Maui for four days. He had previously addressed the wildfires last Thursday and again Tuesday.

"Imagine being a mom or dad wondering where your child is," Biden said in his remarks Tuesday. "Imagine being a husband or wife or mother or father. It’s really tough stuff."