More than 100 frustrated residents packed into Pahoa, Hawaii’s high school cafeteria Monday night, demanding county, state and federal officials be straight with them on the danger still developing as Hawaii’s most active volcano continues its path of destruction.
“Don’t tell us to sit in a shelter,” one angry resident said. “Tell us what is going on. Rumors and fear are spreading. What is going on? Someone tell us something.”
There has been a growing sense of confusion from some residents in the area. They say they haven’t been given details on what actions are being taken to protect their homes, and what dangers remain.
Twelve fissures have been reported in Leilani Estates, near the town of Pahoa. Two new cracks in the ground emitting lava and gas have opened up in the Hawaii community, where 35 structures have burned down. Official says there are 12 fissures in Leilani Estates.
Residents of the evacuated subdivision are being allowed to check on their properties from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until further notice. At the wide-ranging community meeting, Gov. David Ige said state officials are investigating insurance issues related to losses covered by the lava.
There had been some concern that homeowners didn’t have lava protection, but Ige instructed, “Ask (insurance companies) if you have coverage for fire, don’t ask if you have coverage for lava.”
“As long as you have coverage for fire, we believe you are covered,” he said.
Ahead of the community meeting, Ige stopped by a donation drop off center started by the community for the community, where he praised local efforts.
“Friends helping friends, neighbors helping neighbors. It’s a good thing,” he said.
Kolten Wong, a St. Louis Cardinals second baseman and Big Island native, started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for families affected by Kilauea.
“One thing we know as Hawaiian people is that the lava that is coming — that is a part of life,” Wong said in his video message. “Natural disasters for us [are] a part of life. But the Hawaiian way and the way we look at it is that the goddess Pele, who is the creator of lava and the creator of the Hawaiian islands — she is the ruler of all. She decides where she wants to go.”
He added, “There is no trying to keep the lava away, trying to push lava in a different direction. We understand that Pele is going to create the lanes that she wants to create and it is our kuleana, it is our responsibility that when it’s all said and done, whenever that is, that we come in and we clean up what we need to clean up. So for me, I feel strong kuleana to go out and help my people.”
Wong’s fundraising effort is one of six directly related to Kīlauea-related relief.
Earlier in the day, moving walls of thick gooey molten lava from Kilauea choked out homes and vehicles in its path. Over a 24-hour period, the ground shook nearly 500 times — the largest earthquake coming in at a 6.9.
Kilauea erupted Thursday, shooting volcanic ash into the sky and prompting emergency evacuations.
By Friday, more cracks emerged in active volcano vents as molten rock pierced the air and red-hot lava gushed on the ground.
Residents in Leilani Estates as well as Lanipuna Gardens, a rural subdivision directly to the east, were ordered to evacuate.
They were allowed back into their homes to check on their property and get medication, but were warned that they may be forced to flee at any given time, due to the unpredictably of the situation on the ground.
This latest eruption is by far the strongest, and this is the most unstable the volcano has been in decades.
Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983, but this latest eruption is by far the strongest, and this is the most unstable the volcano has been in decades.
No deaths have been reported.