Hawaii gets funding for National Disaster and preparing for mass evacuation

The eastern point of Hawaii's Big Island continued to experience temblors from the Kilauea volcano Saturday as local officials urged residents of lower Puna district to be prepared to evacuate on short notice. Hotspots include either lava flows or new fissures, which show up as yellow to the ASTER. All are a striking reminder of the planet's inner workings.

Hawaii Governor David Ige has said that US President Donald Trump has approved his request for a presidential disaster declaration. Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than two dozen homes since it began spewing lava hundreds of feet into the air last week, and residents who evacuated don't know how long they might be displaced.

If volcanologists can better understand Kilauea and underlying reasons for its seemingly odd behaviour, Johnson said it could help them better understand other volcanoes.

But a Flagstaff volcanologist said not to worry, that an increase in tourism traffic would be a bigger hassle than anything volcanoes in the area could cough up.

Experts feared that Kilauea could send ash and boulders from the its summit crater, which has not been seen for almost a century.

The threat of unsafe volcanic activity in Hawaii could continue for weeks and violent explosions could occur with "very little warning", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory cautioned Wednesday.

At least 26 homes have been destroyed and more than 1,700 people have had to seek refuge after volcano Kilauea erupted last week.

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"If it goes up, it will come down", said Charles Mandeville, volcano hazards coordinator for the US Geological Survey. However, he also noted that tourism is the island's biggest industry and people's livelihoods are dependent on visitors coming.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, if the lava level drops to the level of groundwater beneath Kilauea Caldera, the influx of water could mix with the magma and cause steam-driven explosions.

While locals contend with lava and gas on the ground, explosions at Kilauea's summit, some 25 miles (40 km) to the west are dusting downwind communities with ash that is an irritant to eyes and breathing.

"When you start seeing ferns go brown overnight, it's like, 'Wow, I gotta get out of here, '" said Peters, sitting at a Red Cross evacuation center at a sports center in nearby Pahoa.

The CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the agency that markets Hawaii to the world, said Kilauea is being monitored around the clock to provide the public with the best information.

"We know what people are going through in Leilani Estates".

  • Adam Floyd