As many as 35 homes and many other buildings have been destroyed by lava spewing in fountains up to 300 feet (90 meters) high from an erupting Hawaiian volcano. The residents have been asked to stay prepared to flee at a moment's notice.
As many as 35 homes and many other buildings have been destroyed by lava spewing in fountains up to 300 feet (90 meters) high from an erupting Hawaiian volcano. The residents have been asked to stay prepared to flee at a moment’s notice, even though many of the 1,700 people under orders to evacuate from the Leilani Estates neighborhood on the eastern side of the Big Island were permitted to return home during daylight hours on Sunday and Monday, during a lull in seismic activity from Kilauea.
Amidst the crisis, many disturbing images and videos have emerged from the island showing the destruction. A time-lapse video of the same was shared by CNN on its Facebook page. In this video, a giant flow of lava can be seen engulfing a car and telephone pole on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Residents of another area, Lanipuna Gardens, were barred from returning home on Monday due to deadly volcanic gases. Leilani Estates, some 12 miles (19 km) from the volcano, was evacuated due to the risk of sulfur dioxide gas, which can be life-threatening at high levels.
“Please, the residents of Leilani need our help. This is not the time for sightseeing. You can help tremendously by staying out of the area,” the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in an alert on its website.
The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake which is the strongest tremor since 1975 and more earthquakes are expected in the coming months. So far, no deaths or major injuries have been reported.
Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and one of five on the island, has been in constant eruption for 35 years. It predominantly blows off basaltic lava in effusive eruptions that flow into the ocean but occasionally experiences more explosive events.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokeswoman Janet Babb says scientists know of 10 fissures that have opened up. The observatory says active emission of lava and spatter at the fissures was minimal overnight.