In early August 2023, several wildfires, fuelled by winds from a hurricane offshore, decimated parts of the Hawaiian island of Maui. Especially hard hit was Lahaina on the northwest coast of Maui.
A request for help came to the Philadelphia Assistance Center from a senior leader at a US organisation who was travelling on Maui with his family. With hotels, roads and airports crowded and space needed for residents, he was seeking a way to leave the island while not hindering local rescue efforts.
International SOS experts determined that the best course of action was a maritime option. A tug boat was secured, and six passengers were picked up on a beach in a safe area. Seven hours later, they arrived in Honolulu for a flight to mainland US.
The family traveled home and did so without impacting the rescue and relief efforts that were ongoing on Maui.
International SOS has the right contacts at the right time to successfully conduct complex missions and evacuations. For this case, relationships with the maritime provider were forged half a world away during evacuations in Africa earlier in 2023. It’s local knowledge and committed partners that make the difference.