FEMA officials staying in taxpayer-funded 5-star hotels in Maui

FEMA defended its decision, noting that it was able to secure "government rates."

It has been revealed that members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency assisting with the recovery effort in Maui are lodging in 5-star hotels miles away from the wildfire-ravaged city of Lahaina

Many residents have themselves moved from shelters into government-funded hotels on the west side of the island, however the exclusive resorts in the town of Wailea appear to have been reserved for FEMA personnel only.

Photos obtained by the Daily Mail have shown members of the government agency at the Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria Resort, Fairmont Kea Lani, and Four Seasons Resort, all of which boast luxurious rooms and amenities.

With nightly rates starting at around $1,000, the resorts are quite exclusive, and have hosted some of the richest people in the world, including numerous Hollywood celebrities. 

FEMA has defended its decision to put personnel up in the fancy resorts, noting that it was able to secure government rates of as low as $531 per night.

"In the immediate aftermath of the tragic Maui wildfires, FEMA surged personnel, including hundreds of search and rescue teams, to provide relief to the survivors and support to the state and local governments as quickly as possible," the agency said in a statement to the Daily Mail after the photos emerged. 

"To complete that mission, FEMA selects hotels where all responders can be centrally located to ensure the most effective response possible. Due to the lack of available lodging, FEMA negotiated government rates, at the lowest possible cost, for staff temporarily staying in the available hotels."

FEMA added that as they "transition into recovery," workers will "move to longer term, more affordable responder lodging as they fulfill our commitment to support Maui."

As the recovery effort intensifies, many residents have slammed officials over myriad failures before, during, and after the wildfires ripped through the area. The disaster has caused an estimated $5 billion in damage.

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