Herman Andaya, the head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, submitted his resignation on Thursday. The resignation comes amid intense criticism of his organization’s response to the Lahaina fire, which has tragically claimed at least 111 lives.

In a press release, Maui County officials announced that Herman Andaya, the MEMA administrator, had resigned “effective immediately” for “health reasons.”

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Who is Herman Andaya?

Herman Andaya was the head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency. He was severely criticized for the wildfire response in Maui County.

Andaya lacked expertise in responding to natural disasters. He beat out 40 other highly skilled applicants for the position, according to Maui Now, a local news site, in 2017.

However, Andaya claimed that he had been the deputy director of the state’s Department of Housing and Human Concerns before taking over as head of the emergency organization. He also served for 11 years as the mayor of Maui County’s chief of staff.

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Andaya claimed that during this time he constantly communicated with representatives of “emergency operations” and went through a number of training courses, which helped him become knowledgeable about the area.

Locals said there were no evacuation orders issued when the Maui wildfires started on August 8 and the island’s warning sirens were silent. Andaya said, “I do not,” in response to a question from reporters on Wednesday on his decision not to turn on the sirens.

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Andaya added that when the sirens go off, which are generally used to warn of tsunamis or approaching storms, the populace is accustomed to running for higher ground.

He also said, “Had we sounded the sirens that night, we were afraid that people would have gone mauka (mountainside), and if that was the case, they would have gone into the fire. So that is the reason why, it is our protocol to use WEA [Wireless Emergency Alerts] and EAS [the Emergency Alert System],” reported CBS.