The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Lava Destroys 600 Homes on Hawaii's Big Island
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
By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis
Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.
Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.
The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.
By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.
By Mark Hertsgaard
The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."