As lava from the Big Island’s Kilauea volcano has been coming toward the village over the past few months, evacuations for residents of Pahoa, Hawaii are likely to take place. The June 27 lava flow, named for the date that it began erupting from Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone, has been moving ever since.
Dozens of residents have been told they might have to evacuate as lava from Kilauea heads toward their homes. The lava was about 100 yards from a home Monday morning, officials said. After weeks of fitful advancement, the lava crossed Apaa Street on Sunday in Pahoa Village, considered a main town of the Big Island’s isolated and rural Puna district. It was getting dangerously close to Pahoa Village Road, which goes straight through downtown.
The couple living in the house closest to the flow have left but have been returning periodically to gather belongings, Oliveira said. “They are out of the property and awaiting the events to unfold.” He estimated the lava could reach the house sometime Monday evening. Apaa Street resident Imelda Raras, said she and her husband are ready to go to a friend’s home if officials tell them they should leave. “We are still praying,” she said. “I hope our home will be spared.”
The dark ooze has swallowed up fences, flowed over a cemetery and neared major roads. In some places, in this community of about 950 residents, it’s chest high.
The lava flow is expected to displace 900 school children in the area. Residents who don’t expect their homes to be destroyed worry about being cut off. Two roads have been closed and the American Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter, according to the office of Mayor Billy Kenoi.
“A lot of us are loading up on gas, getting generators in case the energy goes out,” Mike Hale told CNN. “And we’re checking to make sure the Internet stays up.” The Hawaii County Civil defence agency has rebuilt two gravel roads to give residents escape routes from the lava flow. Power company crews are installing new 70-foot-tall poles with heat resistant protection to raise cables higher off the roads.