Kilauea, the most active volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, erupted late yesterday after a spate of earthquakes. The state’s governor, David Ige, declared a local state of emergency. There are active volcanic vents on the Makamae and Mohala streets, and hundreds of residents have been ordered to evacuate.
The eruption on Thursday took place at Kilauea volcano’s East Rift Zone — and Hawaii News Now said Leilani Estates subdivision residents fled with little but the clothes they were wearing. There was another eruption on Friday, and at least a dozen more earthquakes have shaken the area.
In the wake of the eruption, schools have closed, and so has a geothermal power plant. The Hawaii Fire Department reported “extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area.” The County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency has ordered mandatory evacuations for multiple subdivisions, and Gizmodo reported that around 1,700 people reside in the immediate evacuation area, although more than 10,000 people live in the volcano’s vicinity. Emergency shelters opened at community centers.
Ige has activated Hawaii’s National Guard, and Hawaii senator Brian Schatz said on Twitter that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is mobilizing resources and is monitoring “for forest fires, power outages, and water supply disruption.”
Hawaii News Now spoke to Ikaika Marzo, who was one of the first people in Leilani Estates to see active lava, and he reportedly saw fountains about 100 feet high. Another local resident told the news outlet, “My family is safe, the rest of the stuff can be replaced. When I bought here 14 years, I knew that this day would eventually come. But the reality is sinking in now.”
Images via U.S. Geological Survey