Hawaii volcano destroys hundreds of homes

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

A slow-moving flood of lava destroyed hundreds of homes in the southeast area of Big Island, turning what had been a scenic bay dotted with beach homes, lush greens and turquoise waters, into a dark slab of steam and lava.

At least 117 homes have been destroyed in the four weeks since lava began flowing, Magno said Monday.

The county managing director Wil Okabe said his own vacation home in Kapoho Beach Lots was also threatened.

A massive river of lava covered hundreds more homes overnight as it poured into the sea, filling all of Kapoho Bay and decimating entire neighborhoods. He said the area is a mix of vacation rentals and year-round residences. The destruction is the largest number of destroyed homes since the eruption began last month.

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"Anything above 6.9 [magnitude] is our threshold", she said, noting that it would warn people to stay clear of the ocean in such an event. "Lava is entering the ocean in the Vacationland subdivision". To the north, lava has covered all but a small portion of Kapoho Beach Lots.

Pomerleau said all of the vacation homes he did handyman work for are gone.

About 2,000 residents have been displaced from Leilani since earlier this month as fountains of lava and high concentrations of toxic sulfur dioxide gas continued unabated.

Earthquakes are still rattling the summit of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, after a magnitude 5.5 quake rocked the area Sunday, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense officials.

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Ige is coming to Hilo Thursday to meet with Kim, Snyder said, and the main focus will be on fast-tracking temporary housing.

Lava from Kilauea has covered an area of almost 5,000 acres, according to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He said that number was sure to grow because there were many more damaged homes to count.

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. "And I don't know what to do", she said.

Thousands have been evacuated from the area, but officials fear that up to a dozen residents who chose to stay could be dead.

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