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Oprah Winfrey, who is a part-time Maui resident, handed out supplies to evacuees at an emergency shelter there on Thursday amid what she calls "overwhelming" devastation.
The unprecedented wildfires in Maui, which have resulted in 55 deaths, a number expected to rise as many remain missing, is likely the largest natural disaster in Hawaii's history and has devastated the historic town of Lahaina. More than 11,000 people fled their homes, filling emergency shelters.
The media mogul visited the War Memorial Stadium in Maui twice on Thursday, handing out supplies that she purchased between visits.
"It's a little overwhelming, you know," an emotional Winfrey, 69, told the BBC. "But I'm really so pleased to [see] so many people supporting. People are just bringing what they can and doing what they can."
WATCH: Visibly lost for words, Maui resident @Oprah hands out supplies at an evacuation centre amid wildfires, telling @matzamax:
“It's overwhelming... but I’m really pleased to have so many people supporting... bringing what they can and doing what they can.”
“I came earlier… pic.twitter.com/G9Mu1QJUo4
— TV News Now (@TVNewsNow) August 11, 2023
The talk show host said she came earlier "just to see what people needed and then went shopping" to get what people actually needed. It included pillows sheets, pillowcases, shampoo, diapers.
Footage showed Winfrey walking around talking with people there. She handed out pillows, unpackaging them and, in one video, putting it behind a person's head.
Hawaii News Now shared a photo of Winfrey posing with residents at the shelter.
The OWN honcho is one of Maui’s biggest private landholders, owning property in Kula, Hana and Haleakala. It's unclear if any of her property sustained damage. A rep for Winfrey has not yet responded to request for comment.
The same day as Winfrey's visit, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green described the scene in Lahaina as "catastrophic" and said it's likely the largest natural disaster in the state’s history. The Lahaina fire was 80 percent contained as of Thursday. A fire in Pulehu, which is near the center of the island, was 70 percent contained. A fire in Upcountry Maui was still awaiting assessment.
"We've also seen many hundreds of homes destroyed, and that's going to take a great deal of time to recover from," Green said.
There are many celebrity residents of Maui, also including Clint Eastwood, Mick Fleetwood, Steven Tyler and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Locals have been calling for famous residents to pitch in.
Jason Momoa — who was born in Honolulu — has been sharing updates and sharing ways to help.
"We are devastated and heartbroken for our friends and 'ohana on Maui who been impacted by the recent wildfires," Momoa wrote.