Over 700 homes on Hawaii’s Big Island are destroyed by the Kilauea volcano, as reported by KGMB, an CBS Honolulu affiliate.
Bob Fenton, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official for the region said he was “amazed at the amount of devastation” he has seen and that it is “going to take a whole community effort” to help in the recovery, KGMB reports.
The Big Island volcano has been erupting for more than a month, sending lava into neighborhoods from cracks in the ground and destroying hundreds of homes.
A river of molten rock is flowing toward a community that got wiped out last week. A fissure is shooting fountains of lava into the air, which is flowing to the ocean. Gas emissions from the vent have doubled.
On Monday, the island’s officials let some people back into their homes and scaled down emergency operations as lava flowed into the ocean on a path that wasn’t threatening new areas.
Lava fissures began emerging from cracks in neighbourhood last month, Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency Administrator Talmadge Magno said Monday. He went on to say that the situation beginning to scale down as the volcano somewhat runs into a stable situation, i.e. lava continues to flow along a path toward the ocean that isn’t threatening additional areas.
Meanwhile, a geologist with the USGS’ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Janet Babb, was less optimistic. There was “not a lot of change” to the lava flow, she said.
Half of the residents of a subdivision that had been ordered to evacuate after a fissure opened there on May 3 were being allowed to return starting last week. The other half of the residents in a more vulnerable area are allowed back during the day if conditions are safe.