Hundreds More Hawaii Homes Destroyed as Lava Surge Fills Coastal Bay

Marsha Scott
June 7, 2018

"We lost hundreds of homes in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland overnight, but we don't have exact figures", Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County, told AFP.

County Managing Director Wil Okabe says his vacation home in Kapoho Beach Lots is also threatened.

Lava early Tuesday destroyed the mayor's second home, Snyder said.

Homes in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland are on smaller lots and closer together than those in other parts of the Puna district.

The latest two communities affected by the lava flow had been ordered evacuated beforehand and there were no immediate reports of any casualties.

When asked at a news conference Monday about the number of evacuations, he said he didn't have a good estimate because up to 80% of the houses in some areas are vacation rentals. Civil defense officials said Kapoho Bay had been filled in with lava that extended seven-tenths of a mile from what had been the shoreline.

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Officials are still working to get an accurate count of damaged structures, but a flight by the U.S. Geological Survey shows blackened lava inundating a section of coastline that was once covered with lush forest and dotted by homes.

USGS' Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Monday that parts of the channelized flow from a fissure were starting to break out and move north.

Kirk Rahmer became one of dozens of people who lost their homes over the weekend, when he saw that his home of 18 years had been claimed by lava.

Before and after photos reveal a vast amount of land near Kapoho Bay now covered in lava. Miles of charred, blackened landscape are visible behind the ocean-entry point, showing the lava flow's path of destruction from the inland fissure.

"He was very depressed", Okabe said of how Kim felt about losing his vacation home. Laze is formed when hot lava hits the ocean, reacts with sea water and sends hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles in the air. She said it would be some time before precise losses were confirmed. Some said they were staying because they had nowhere else to go, officials said.

However, there is no telling how long this eruption might continue for. By Tuesday, the lava flow had completely engulfed the bay and surrounding neighborhoods.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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