ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Two capital district men arrived in Hawai’i over the weekend to assist in recovery efforts. NEWS10 spoke with a Native Hawai’ian woman, who is currently living in Ballston Spa, who was disheartened to hear – what she called – discrepancies in responses to communities. 

Maile Barcelon said she’s heard reports that some folks had been evacuated, while others said they had no warning.

“It’s devastating seeing people suffering,” said Barcelon. “Knowing there were people who had to jump in the ocean, in the water for eight hours with their kids, trying to get saved. I mean that’s devastating. There’s people who died in the ocean.” 

She’s concerned that some tourists have continued their vacations while the tragedy unfolds – swimming in the same waters people are dying in.

“There was someone who put it on social media, they recorded tourists that were surfing off of a tourist boat, just hanging out and enjoying the waters as a tourist,” said Barcelon.

Officials in Hawai’i are working to identify the people who have died and are expected to start releasing those names on Tuesday. 

Jerry Deluca, who lives in Ravena, works for the Northeastern New York Chapter of the Red Cross and specializes in mass casualties and reunification services.

Mary Alice Molgard, who leads the Red Cross’s public affairs team, said Deluca could be there for at least three weeks.

“He’s there, he’s going to be helping families in Maui locate their loved ones and to help identify the person who is deceased and reach out to the appropriate families and have them connected,” said Molgard.

Molgard says he is one of two men from the capital district who have been deployed to Hawai’i to provide assistance. She says there’s two other from upstate New York who are there assisting, one from the Hudson Valley and another from Syracuse.

“Hawaii has been designated a level seven, the highest on the scale that it can go,” said Molgard.

To put the disaster in perspective, she said the Red Cross designated the recent Vermont floods around a level two or level three – a drastic difference to the level 7 rating Hawai’i is dealing with right now.

She says the wildfires are unimaginable and it was impossible to prepare for. 

“But this particular incident with the Maui wildfires we are focusing more on cash donations, financial support for Red Cross services,” said Molgard. 

With hundreds still missing and thousands being displaced she’s urging people to donate if they can.

“We hope the people of the capital district will step up and be generous, this is a catastrophic event and we certainly would appreciate any support from the residents of the area to help relieve the suffering in Hawai’i,” said Molgard.