Fires in Hawaii: what action must follow?

Five days after the devastating wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui, hundreds of people are still missing. Authorities fear that the death toll — currently at 93 — could rise significantly. The town of Lahaina was almost completely destroyed. Europe’s press voices fears that such disasters will become increasingly frequent.

The Economist (GB) /

Lahaina the symptom of a dangerous trend

The ferocity of the fires is the result of a meteorological phenomenon that is being accentuated by climate change, says The Economist:

“Over the past decade meteorologists have increasingly talked of ‘flash droughts’, periods in which dryness increases very quickly because low or no rainfall coincides with sunlight, winds and air temperature, driving evaporation from the soil and water loss through plants into top gear. ... Further abroad, two lessons stand out. One is that as the world continues to get hotter, flash droughts are likely to become more common. ... The second is that even cities that have survived for centuries should not feel safe.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

We must all stop being part of the problem

La Libre Belgique sees every individual as bearing responsibility:

“One question becomes increasingly urgent: what will it take to make us take action? ... In the same way that motorists stuck in a traffic jam have to realise that they are part of the problem, we must all realise that we are at the root of the destabilisation of the climate. And act accordingly. These individual responses will still fall far short of the effort required, but they are an indispensable means for getting governments to finally take difficult but increasingly vital decisions.”

Gilles Toussaint