Sunday, April 14, 2024

‘The Rock’ and Oprah create direct payment fund for Maui

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Oprah Winfrey have created a fund to make direct payments to people in Hawaii who have been affected by Maui wildfires.

The People’s Fund of Maui aims to make monthly payments of $1 200 (£950) to the thousands of victims of the fires that swept the island this month.

The two celebrities donated ten million dollars to kick off the fundraiser, and are asking for further donations from the public.

The death toll officially stands at 115 but many remain missing three weeks on.

The money will go to adults whose homes were destroyed by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula on Maui.

It is available to homeowners and renters, but not to owners who do not live in the buildings that were ruined.

“Collaborating closely with an esteemed advisory board and support from the local community and respected elders, this new fund will serve as a bridge to provide cash directly to the families and individuals affected so that they can personally determine how best to use the funds for themselves,” the fundraiser said.

“People being able to have their own agency, being able to make decisions for themselves about what they need and what their family needs – that’s our goal,” Winfrey said in a video with The Rock that was posted on Instagram.

“Even in the most difficult of times, the people of Maui come together, and we rise – that’s what makes us stronger,” The Rock said.

“We are beyond grateful to be working alongside esteemed community leaders of Maui to launch the People’s Fund of Maui. These leaders are offering their guidance to ensure our fund can put money directly in the hands of those individuals most affected.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) has offered an initial payment of $700 for immediate needs, but many have said the money does little to help with long-term recovery.

Winfrey is a part-time resident of Maui and The Rock lived in Hawaii as a child and is partly of Samoan descent. (BBC)

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