At least 55 have been killed in the wildfires that began earlier in the week on Hawaii's Maui Island, local authorities said Thursday, with the historic town of Lahaina devastated and the full scale of the disaster still unclear amid power and communication outages.

U.S. President Joe Biden approved a national disaster declaration for Hawaii the same day, making federal funding available to affected residents.

Undated photo provided Aug. 10, 2023, shows car wreckage on the shore of Maui Island in Hawaii after wildfires. (Photo courtesy of the Hawaii governor's office)(Kyodo)

In terms of casualties, it is the second worst wildfire disaster in the United States over the past 100 years after a 2018 wildfire in California that killed 85 people, U.S. media reported.

About 80 percent of the fires that engulfed Lahaina, a major tourist spot once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, were brought under control as of Thursday morning, according to the local authorities.

A man walks past wildfire wreckage in Lahaina, Hawaii, on Aug. 9, 2023. (Tiffany Kidder Winn/AP/Kyodo)

Over 1,000 structures have been reduced to ashes or damaged, while thousands of residents are believed to have fled their homes.

The Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu said it has not received any report of Japanese nationals being among the victims.

Maui Island is the second largest island of the Hawaii archipelago, spanning around 1,900 square kilometers and with a population of around 120,000 people.

This photo provided by County of Maui shows fire and smoke filling the sky from wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, on Aug. 8, 2023. (Zeke Kalua/County of Maui/AP/Kyodo)

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