Mayor Declares Emergency As Lava Flow Threatens Community In Hawaii

Residents of the community of Kahoe Homesteads in rural Hawaii are a worried lot. Barely weeks after being tormented by a tropical storm Iselle, the very existence of the community is being threatened by the flow of lava from a nearby volcano. Lava flow from the Kilauea volcano is rapidly creeping towards their homes, and at its current rate, lava will reach the community within a week, reports Fox News.

The fact that it would only take a week or slightly more for the lava to reach the community has been confirmed by geologists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory as well. What is even more depressing is the fact that the community cannot do anything, but watch it happen –helplessly.

While it is too early to say how many homes and people would be affected if the lava reaches the area, the local mayor has already issued a state of emergency. Researchers from the observatory have also raised the alert level from “watch” to “warning,” reports Hawaii News Now. They estimate that the lava flow is approaching the town slowly and is advancing by at least 800 feet per day.

Lava flow in Hawaii

The Kahoe Homesteads is an isolated region in the Puna district of Hawaii’s Big Island.

In the meantime, large community meetings are being held in the area after Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed an emergency proclamation declaring a state of emergency. Residents of the area lined up near officials to inquire about possible evacuation routes as the lava flow may cut off the arterial Highway 130 should the flow advance in the same direction for a few more days. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator has not yet ordered an evacuation of the area and has confirmed they would only do so if they figure that the lava flow is only five days away from reaching Kahoe Homesteads.

Adding to the authorities’ headache is the fact that predicting the actual path of the lava flow is very difficult due to various external factors.

“It’s very frustrating because even if we look at a five-day period and we tell people to evacuate, it could be weeks before anything happens,” an official from the Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator said.

Feeling hot hot hot! Kilauea volcano lava flowing into the ocean.

It is pertinent to note that the residents of the area are aware of the dangers if living beside an active volcano. The Kilauea volcano has been active since long ago and has been continuously erupting since 1983. However, the region still attracts people because of its peacefulness and distance from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. It is also among the more affordable places to live in Hawaii.

Let us all hope that this rural community remains safe and manages to sail past these difficult times.

[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]