Quantcast

Lava Destroys 600 Homes on Hawaii's Big Island

Climate

More than 600 homes have been destroyed by lava flows from Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii since erupting more than a month ago, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim told Reuters.


Kim said that Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has never destroyed so many homes before in such a short period of time. The mayor's seaside home in Vacationland was one of the many residences consumed by lava.

The ongoing damage caused by the volcanic activity has vastly exceeded the 215 structures ravaged by lava during all 35 years of Kilauea's last eruption cycle that began in 1983.

Geologist Scott Rowland, a volcano specialist from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, told Reuters that Kilauea's current eruption is the most destructive in the U.S. since the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state in 1980.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) warned Friday that "vigorous eruption of lava continues from the lower East Rift Zone fissure system."

USGS tweeted that the volcano has spewed at least 45,400 Olympic-sized pools of lava since May 3, or enough to cover Manhattan Island 6.5 ft deep and fill 11.3 million average dump trucks.

On Thursday, Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kim signed a Letter of Agreement releasing $12 million to support the county's response to the active volcanic eruption.

"This is an ongoing emergency and we're in the early stages of damage assessment, but we do know that costs for overtime, equipment and materials are mounting. Police, fire, public works and civil defense employees have been working overtime, and some of the equipment and materials needed to keep evacuation routes open and safe have been costly," said Gov. Ige in a statement. "This funding will help the county continue to protect the health, safety and welfare of area residents."

Governor Ige (left) releases $12 million to County of Hawaiʻi for disaster responseGovernor David Y. Ige / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kim expressed appreciation for the assistance.

"We have had tremendous support from the governor and his departments from the get-go. This is helping us focus on the critical tasks of making life better for our people affected by the eruption," he said.

The funding could be used for emergency supplies and temporary shelter-related goods and services, but is not intended for long-term infrastructure repairs or for private purposes such as the repair or rebuilding of private dwellings.

"Today's agreement provides initial financial support, and I am committed to providing additional assistance to the County of Hawai'i as new needs and specific projects are identified," Ige noted.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


mevans / E+ / Getty Images

The federal agency that manages the Great Barrier Reef issued an unprecedented statement that broke ranks with Australia's conservative government and called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less

A powerful earthquake struck near Athens, Greece and shook the capital city for 15 seconds on Friday, causing people to run into the streets to escape the threat of falling buildings, NBC News reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
U.S. government scientists concluded in a new report that last month was the hottest June on record. Angelo Juan Ramos / Flickr

By Jessica Corbett

As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

By John R. Platt

For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.

Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixnio

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many types of flour are commonly available on the shelves of your local supermarket.

Read More Show Less
A visitor views a digital representation of the human genome at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Mario Tama / Getty Images

Genetics are significantly more responsible for driving autism spectrum disorders than maternal factors or environmental factors such as vaccines and chemicals, according to a massive new study involving more than 2 million people from five different countries.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Emilie Karrick Surrusco

Across the globe, extreme weather is becoming the new normal.

Read More Show Less