Hawaii Volcano; Officials Order Emergency Evacuations as the Kilauea Volcano Erupts
Representational Image (Photo Credits: @genochurch/ unsplash.com)

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is releasing red lava in Leilani Estates, a residential neighbourhood in the lower Puna district of the Big Island. This has prompted mandatory evacuations as the lava is cutting through the community approaching to several homes. Reportedly, on May 3, 2018, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake shook the island sending huge plume of ash into the air. The officials had been warning residents all week that they should be prepared to evacuate. The civil defense is on high alert on a 24-hour basis due to what is now a volcanic eruption in the lower Puna area.

Heavy smoke is visible throughout the neighbourhood. Media reports suggest that all areas bordering the East Rift Zone, from the Volcanic cone Puu Oo crater down to Kapoho, are at high risk for eruption activities. The Hawaii Red Cross tweeted saying that it opened a shelter in nearby Pahoa for the residents evacuating because of the lava threat.

Residents and social media posts show video of lava spewing through cracks, spatter bubbling up from towns, streets and forest.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii Governor, David Ige has activated the Hawaii National Guard in order to run the evacuations smoothly as well as the security of the community. He urged Big Islands residents to “stay calm”. According to US Geological Survey, there were nearly 70 earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or stronger between May 1 to 2, 2018. The Hawaii News Now reported that several lava-viewing areas such as the Kalapana, have been closed due to the possibility of a new outbreak. Volcanic activities can take place with little or no warning. The last time lava threatened the area of Puna was in 2014, when a flow closed roads for weeks in Pahoa, forced evacuations and claimed several structures, including one home.