An ever-creeping wall of lava from Kilauea Volcano has engulfed two entire seaside housing tracts at the eastern tip of Hawaii's Big Island, government scientists reported on Wednesday, an area where civil defense officials said almost 280 homes once stood.
"We don't have an estimate yet, but safe to say that hundreds of homes were lost last night", Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii county, said Tuesday.
Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said the official count of destroyed homes since May 3 has not risen from the tally of 117 announced earlier this week. He said the area is a mix of vacation rentals and year-round residences.
A neighborhood called Vacationland on Hawaii's Big Island had disappeared by Wednesday as lava poured into two oceanfront subdivisions, smothering hundreds of homes and filling an ocean bay, turning it into new land that now juts into the sea.
A civil defense official told Reuters on Tuesday at least 60 to 80 more homes were believed to have been devoured as the lava flow, measuring about half a mile wide and 10 to 15 feet tall, inundated the adjacent subdivisions of Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland.
Vigorous eruption of lava from Kilauea's lower East Rift Zone also was reported, including lava fountaining at Fissure 8 between 130 feet and 160 feet. Hundreds are now staying in emergency shelters. When the super hot lava hits the ocean it produces a chemical reaction that produces a blend of hydrochloric acid, steam, and tiny particles of glass.
Ige is coming to Hilo Thursday to meet with Kim, Snyder said, and the main focus will be on fast-tracking temporary housing.
"On the northern end of that, there are just a few homes in the [Kapoho] beach lots area".
"I left a lot of things behind because I didn't want to feel as if I was abandoning my home", Rahmer said.
"Over the course of essentially two days, that entire area was covered by lava", Dr Stovall said.
The state is issuing citations to those who needed to be rescued from mandatory evacuation areas. "And I don't know what to do", she said.
There have been 9,900 earthquakes on the island since May 4 as a result of the geological activity, the USGS said, including about 500 near Kilauea's summit over the weekend, according to CNN. One home was lost in a separate 2014 lava flow in the commercial hub of Pahoa.
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Police on Monday said a man sped through a checkpoint near an intersection where lava was approaching. Kim and Okabe live in Hilo, the county's seat, which is more than an hour drive from the Kapoho area.
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