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Home / US / Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption: The number of houses destroyed by lava is increasing in view of the uncertainty as to when volcanic activity will cease

Hawaii Kilauea volcano eruption: The number of houses destroyed by lava is increasing in view of the uncertainty as to when volcanic activity will cease



PAHOA, Hawaii – The number of houses destroyed by lava shooting into the ground from openings created by Kilauea volcano in Hawaii rose to five. Some of the more than 1700 evacuees were preparing for the possibility that they might not return for some time.

"I have no idea how quickly we can get back," said Todd Corrigan, who left his home in Leilani Estates his wife on Friday when lava burst through the floor three or four blocks from her home. They spent the night with their car on the beach and started to look for an apartment.

CBS Affiliate KGMB-TV reported that on Saturday two new air vents were opened in the neighborhood, bringing the total to 1

0 brought the air.

Earlier, the older column, several hundred meters long, had calmed down and released only steam and gas.

Scientists said Kilauea would probably release more lava through additional vents, but they could not predict exactly where.

Talmadge Magno, administrator of the Civil Protection Agency of Hawaii, told CBS News correspondent Carter Evans that it is not known long that the volcanic activity will continue.

"That's the sad part of it," Magno told Evans. "It could take a long time or, on the other hand, as I said, mysteriously it could just end."

Leilani Estates, a subdivision in the predominantly rural district of Puna, is the most vulnerable. The authorities ordered more than 1700 residents from there and near Lanipuna Gardens.

Hundreds of small earthquakes raced across the area on Saturday, one day after an earthquake of 6.9 – the biggest earthquake that hit Hawaii in more than 40 years. Magma moved through Kilauea and triggered the earthquakes, geologists said, warning about aftershocks.

The authorities warned that sulfur-containing gas leaking out of the chimneys also creates dangers, especially for the elderly and people with respiratory problems. Hawaii County spokeswoman Kanani Aton said some residents may return home to pick up medicines or pet pets when the sulfur dioxide level drops.

Tesha "Mirah" Montoya, 45, said the threat of toxic fumes was not enough to evacuate her family, but the turning point was the earthquake.

"I felt the whole side of our hill was going to explode," she said. "The earthquake let us go and started throwing guinea pigs and rabbits into the car."

Montoya, her husband and daughter do not know how long they will be away from the three-story octagonal house they built 20 years ago in a piece of "raw jungle"

"My heart and soul are there, "she said in a phone interview from a cabin on the north side of the Big Island, where the family had settled. "I'm nothing without the land, it's part of my being."

Gary McMillan said his home is about 3000 feet away from one of the cracks in Leilani Estates. He monitored remote cameras installed in his home and said his home was still intact.

He lives with his wife in the nearby community center out of his van, constantly thinking about things they left behind, but understands why authorities evacuated people.

"I've been a caregiver for 37 years, so I understand the health implications and associated hazards," said McMillan.

Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983 and is one of the world's most active volcanoes. In 2014, Lava burned a house and smothered a graveyard when it approached Pahoa, the city closest to Leilani Estates. But this river stagnated just before it reached Pahoa's main street.

Almost 30 years ago, lava slowly covered a whole city, Kalapana, for about a year.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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