Hawaii volcano has destroyed 600 homes, officials say

HOLLYN JOHNSON  Tribune-Herald Lava flows into the ocean after covering Vacationland Kapoho Bay and most of Kapoho Beach Lots Wednesday

HOLLYN JOHNSON Tribune-Herald Lava flows into the ocean after covering Vacationland Kapoho Bay and most of Kapoho Beach Lots Wednesday

HVO's early morning helicopter overflight of Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone showed that lava continues to flow into the ocean in the vicinity of Kapoho Bay and Vacationland.

Approximately 600 homes have been destroyed by lava flows on Hawaii's Big Island since the current eruption of Kilaeua Volcano began early last month, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Thursday.

The latest estimate of property losses from Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, far surpasses the 215 structures consumed by lava during an earlier eruption cycle that began in 1983 and continued almost nonstop over three decades.

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The fast-moving lava poured into the low-lying coastal Hawaii neighbourhoods in just two days this week, destroying hundreds of homes.

The lava, which has covered more than 2023.47 hectares in this latest eruption, is not only expansive but very thick.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige says the state was giving the county $12 million to help it respond to the eruption.

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Kim said Vacationland, a private development believed to comprise roughly 160 homes, was completely erased, and that at least 330 houses were devoured by lava at Kapoho Beach Lots. That's on top of the losses at Leilani Estates, one of the first areas to feel the destructive power of Kilauea.

As the lava marched toward the bay, it vaporised Hawaii's largest freshwater lake in Kapoho Crater. "Don't forget the farmers, don't forget the ranchers, don't forget all the employees for them".

The Kapoho ocean entry (as of 6:30 a.m.), where the interaction of fissure 8 lava and seawater produces a white plume called "laze".

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The latest eruption began early Tuesday morning and was so powerful that it spewed ash almost a mile into the air and sparked a 5.5 magnitude natural disaster, scientists say.

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