Joe Biden has declared Hawaii a disaster area, clearing the way for federal aid to help Maui residents and businesses recover from devastating wildfires.

It comes after at least 36 people died due to wildfires driven by a dry summer and strong winds in the historic town of Lahaina.

President Biden expressed deep condolences for the loss of lives and the destruction of land and property when speaking to Hawaii Governor Josh Green over the phone.

He also confirmed he had signed a Major Disaster Declaration for Hawaii that will deliver additional federal resources and support on top of the actions already underway.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Guard, the US Coast Guard, and other federal agencies have already been supporting the emergency response.

A mass evacuation effort for stranded visitors and residents on the Hawaiian island of Maui has also been launched after wildfires rampaged through an historic town.

Buses are set to pick up people in Kaanapali, north of the town of Lahaina.

Visitors will be taken directly to the Kahului Airport and residents to a shelter in central Maui, the county announced on Facebook.

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