Hawaii Residents Evacuated As Threat Of Volcanic Eruption Continues
The eruption of the world's most dangerous volcanoes has forced thousands to flee their homes in Hawaii.
Kilauea, which began erupting on 3 May, has now opened up 300m long fissures and has been spewing lava over 90m into the air. Lava flows have been seen rolling down the slopes of Kilauea, which is situated on Hawaii's Big Island, causing the evacuation of over 2,000 people.
Hundreds of people have already left the area and it is thought that dozens of homes have been destroyed by lava. As many as 18 fissures have opened in the earth and the volcano threatens a large scale eruption. An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale also struck the Big Island on Friday.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, yet the area around it is populated by thousands of people. It has been erupting near continuously for the last 35 years, but the scale of the current eruption has not been seen since 1990, when around 200 homes were destroyed.
"It is a near-constant roar akin to a full-throttle 747 interspersed with deafening, earth-shattering explosions that hurtle 100-pound lava bombs 100 feet into the air," said local resident Mark Clawson, who lives upwards of the latest fissure to open and has not evacuated his home, according to Reuters.
Tina Neal, a volcanologist with the US Geological Survey, delivered a video message from the summit of the volcano, saying: "The situation down there remains dynamic and as we've been saying for days now the outbreaks can continue to occur both uprift and downrift of the existing fissure system, or the existing fissures could be reactivated."
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The fissures are centred on the Leilani Estates housing development and the Halekamahina Loop Rood. All residents were ordered to evacuate early this morning, with shelter being provided by the Big Island government. It is expected that the relief effort will cost the island almost $3 million (£2.2m).
A state of emergency was declared by the government, where there is an expectation that the situation will deteriorate before it improves.
"Seismic activity is still extremely high, so we feel that this might just be the beginning of things," said Talmadge Mango, the civil defence administrator for Hawaii County.
Hawaii governor David Ige took to Twitter to explain which procedures were underway. "I am in contact with @MayorHarryKim and Hawai'i County and the state is actively supporting the county's emergency response efforts," he wrote.
"I have also activated the Hawai'i National Guard to support county emergency response teams with evacuations and security."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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