Hawaii volcano lava destroys hundreds of homes in new subdivisions

HOLLYN JOHNSON  Tribune-Herald Lava from fissure No. 8 oozes toward Kapoho Bay on Sunday in lower Puna. Special thanks to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

HOLLYN JOHNSON Tribune-Herald Lava from fissure No. 8 oozes toward Kapoho Bay on Sunday in lower Puna. Special thanks to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Overnight Monday, "hundreds" more were destroyed in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland, said Janet Snyder, a Hawaii Civil Defense Service spokeswoman.

County Managing Director Wil Okabe said his own vacation home in Kapoho Beach Lots was threatened.

Thousands in the Puna area had to evacuate after lava fissures started opening in neighbourhoods a month ago. Lava pouring into the ocean there has completely filled in the bay, extending almost a mile (1.6 km) out from what had been the shoreline, USGS scientists said. She said that lava from Kilauea volcano had completely covered the subdivision in Kapoho and at last report, just a small portion of Kapoho Beach Lots remained.

Lava has been flowing from fissures that broke out in neighborhoods last month.

Governor David Ige signed a second supplemental emergency proclamation on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) that gives the county more options for shelters and sets criminal penalties for violating emergency rules, such as failing to evacuate and interfering with emergency workers.

Plumes of white steam and hydrochloric acid fumes, a vaporous, corrosive mix formed from lava reacting with seawater as it enters the ocean, could be seen rising from a distance.

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According to Snyder, a number of drone operators have been cited for violating the temporary flight restriction area over lava flows. (Reuters/Terray Sylvester) A home on fire in the Kapoho area.

Many island residents have lost everything.

"I just locked my doors and walked away", 28-year Vacationland resident Betty Oberman said.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported high levels of natural disaster activity were near Kilauea's summit late Monday night and early Tuesday morning, including a magnitude-5.5 quake at 4:32 a.m., which produced a plume of lava 1,000 feet above the summit. She said it would be some time before precise losses were confirmed.

The Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii continues to erupt. One home was lost in a separate 2014 lava flow in the commercial hub of Pahoa.

The state is issuing citations to those who needed to be rescued from mandatory evacuation areas.

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