Thousands Evacuated To Escape Lava Flows And Poisonous Gas In Hawaii
Thousands of people are being forced to flee their homes in Hawaii after an earthquake caused lava to pour from the of the Kilauea volcano.
Homes have been destroyed by the molten lava spewing from the volcano and there is also a threat from sulphur dioxide gas that means no people can remain in the area near to it.
On the Big Island there have been no reports of injuries so far, but around 5 houses have been destroyed after the lava started shooting out of the ground.
The lava began spurting up after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific island last week.
Scientists have warned that more vents are likely to open up, but they have no accurate way of predicting where they might be. The most likely place is called Leilani Estates in the area of Puna, around 2,000 people have been evacuated from that area as a precaution.
The area continues to be rocked by smaller earthquakes after the initial quake - the largest to hit Hawaii in more than four decades. Lava can also be seen oozing from cracks in the streets.
The sulphur dioxide gas can be particularly dangerous to those with respiratory issues, children, and the elderly.
If levels stay low as they are now, authorities say that there is a chance that some people will be allowed to return for essentials such as medicine and pets.
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There are also currently no-fly restrictions over the area - with the exception of the relief effort.
Tesha Montoya, a 45-year-old who lives in the largely rural area, said: "I felt like the whole side of our hill was going to explode,
"The earthquake was what made us start running and start throwing guinea pigs and bunnies in the car."
Of her house, which she built with her husband and daughter many years ago, she said: "My heart and soul's there. I'm nothing without the land. It's part of my being."
It is not clear when those who have been evacuated will be able to go back to their homes.
Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanos and has been erupting non-stop since 1983
It has destroyed many homes since then and has even consumed a whole town, Kalapana, in a relatively short space of time around 3 decades ago.
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