New aerial photos show Kilauea’s lava devouring neighborhoods

07 June, 2018, 02:09 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • HOLLYN JOHNSON  Tribune-Herald Lava from fissure No. 8 oozes toward Kapoho Bay on Sunday in lower Puna. Special thanks to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano destroyed hundreds more homes overnight, overtaking two oceanfront communities where residents were advised to evacuate last week, officials said on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time).

Lava from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than 150 homes in a rural Big Island district, including that of Big Island Mayor Harry Kim. The area is primarily home to vacation rentals, but there are a lot of permanent residences there too. Civil defense officials said Kapoho Bay had been filled in with lava that extended seven-tenths of a mile from what had been the shoreline.

Mounting property losses were reported a day after five or six people who initially chose to stay in the newly evacuated Kapoho area after road access was cut off were rescued by helicopter, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency.

Kirk Rahmer became one of dozens of people who lost their homes over the weekend, when he saw that his home of 18 years had been claimed by lava.

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They anxious their house would be spared by the lava but rendered inaccessible, leaving them stuck with the mortgage for an abandoned home and a fire insurance policy that was of no value, she told Reuters. The destruction is the largest number of destroyed homes since the eruption began last month.

Lava flows have knocked out telephone and power lines, causing widespread communication outages, and forced the shutdown of a geothermal energy plant that normally provides about a quarter of the island's electricity.

Lava has been flowing from fissures that broke out in neighborhoods last month. (Reuters/Terray Sylvester) A home on fire in the Kapoho area. It was where vacationers enjoyed tide pools, snorkeling and picnics, reported CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.

Officials warned on Tuesday that a large plume of laze, a toxic lava haze composed of hydrochloric acid and tiny shards of volcanic glass, was blowing inland along the coastline, released with the ongoing inundation of Kapoho Bay.

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A morning overflight confirmed that lava completely filled Kapoho Bay, inundated most of Vacationland and covered all but the northern part of Kapoho Beach Lots, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. Okabe estimated there are several hundred homes in each of the two subdivisions.

"What used to be the bay is now all lava bed, new land, nearly a mile (1.6 km) out into the ocean", the civil defense spokesman told Reuters.

"I've been crying a lot", she said.

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