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Once the lava stops, Hawaii's reconstruction and future are uncertain



The lava cools to rock, and it's not always clear: When a section of the scenic Chain of Craters Road in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was buried by lava in the 1980s, it remained until 2014 blocked as a 5 – The section was used as an emergency access road with bulldozers to connect Kalapana, if it was cut off. (The iconic "Road Closed" sign that sticks out of the hardened lava has been removed and rescued.) But part of this road was covered with lava again in 2016.

Parts of chilled lava were removed from a transfer station in Pahoa the 2014 river and hardened rock was removed from Cemetery Road in 201

5, although the covered road was reportedly a tourist attraction.

"It's tough, and it's building very, very high," said Carolyn Loeffler, owner of Loeffler Construction in Hilo, who has not worked on the 2014 Flow-affected areas. "You usually need hydraulic hammers on the equipment," she said.

The construction of areas affected by lava flows in Hawaii must go through an examination and approval process to make sure, said Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist for the Hawaii County Department of Public Works

Lava devoured the 1990s Municipality of Kalapana, southwest of Leilani Estates and near the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The lava flow spilled 100 houses, as well as several other structures, under 50 to 80 feet of lava, according to the USGS.

But by 2012, people had returned and new houses were being built in Kalapana Gardens. The Honolulu magazine talked to the residents there, including Kent Napper and Nancy Lowe, who built a small two-story home there. "Where else in Hawaii can you buy land with a view of the sea for $ 10,000?" They told the publication.

  Image: Image: Chris Adkins
Chris Adkins unloads gravel to pave the way between the road and his new home in Kalapana, Hawaii. Once a thriving fishing village, Kalapana was buried under kiln lava in the 1980s and 1990s. Adkins says the lava on his property was last flooded in 2011. Jim Seida / NBC News File

In 2014, NBC News spoke with Chris Adkins, a taxpayer in Hilo, who built a house on a lava field in Kalapana. He bought a 0.6 acre lot for $ 6,500. "I will not have a mortgage, not a homeowner's association, it's all a matter of perspective," he said.

Herman Ludwig, owner of Ludwig Construction in Hilo, whose company put out hardened lava from the area around the affected handling station, said in 2014 that the left hardened lava requires heavy equipment, but hardly differs from removing other types of rock.

"Most of our island is like that," said Ludwig. You can build houses on the left-behind rock, "but the lava could come back," he said.

No state highways were covered by the lava flow in the current eruption, but Highway 130 was closed in the area to crack, said State Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara. When roads are covered with lava flow, the crews decide to go through, over or around the left-behind rock.

  Image: US VOLCANO HAWAII
A man watches as lava spits out of a column subdivision of Leilani Estates on Friday Frederic J. Brown / AFP – Getty Images

The insurance of homeowners and tenants should cover damage caused by fires caused by the heat of lava Insurance experts

Lava-related property damage is usually associated with fire, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. If the damage is caused by the earthquake, homeowners and tenants are likely to need earthquake protection. Vehicles are covered when the insured has purchased optional comprehensive coverage, the group says.

"In the past situations [with]the lava flow was provided under the fire protection cover," said HI Commissioner Gordon I. Ito. He and the state insurance department are urging people to contact their insurance providers to see if they can get cover.

  Image: Lava from a crack slowly heads northeast after the eruption of the Kilauea volcano on Hookapu Road
Lava from a column moves after the eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii on May 5, 2018 in the Sub Unit Leilani Estates near Pahoa, Hawaii, slowly on Hookapu Road to the northeast US Geological Survey / via Getty Images

Nearly 300 people and dozens of pets remain in two shelters of the American Red Cross of Hawaii, NBC subsidiary KHNL reports, and displaced people face the challenge of finding temporary housing.

Abaya, who had fled her home in Leilani Estates, could not get tenant insurance from three different companies because the area is in Lavazone 1. The house where she and her family lived is still standing.

"I feel like we're arranging for this house to be taken and you know we definitely have to start our lives afresh," Abaya said this week.

The family lived in Oceanside, about two and a half hours away, on Friday, but Abaya and her six-year-old son planned to stay in a tent on a friend's property in Hilo – he goes to school in Hilo and works at the university from Hawaii in Hilo

"Fingers crossed," she said.


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