Dozens of earthquakes – including the strongest to hit Hawai‘i in more than four decades – have jolted the Big Island’s residents, some as they were in the midst of evacuating.
At least 12 active fissures have been reported in and around Leilani Estates, according to the County Civil Defence Agency.
Lava flows oozing through the residential community have ignited everything in their paths.
So far, lava has destroyed at least 35 structures, 26 of which were homes, the agency said Monday night.
Hawai‘i governor David Ige has told the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Authority the state will need help to deal with the eruption.
Ige commented on Monday, as he met people on Big Island who have fled from their endangered homes.
A dozen lava vents have opened in streets of the Puna district residential estate.
Evacuated residents do not know how long they will be displaced.
Ige said he made the calls to federal officials because it “was very important that we assure that state, federal and county assets would be available to keep residents safe”.
Emergency crews said they were poised to evacuate more people as fissures kept spreading, five days after Kilauea started exploding.
Around 1700 people have already been ordered to leave their homes after lava crept into their neighbourhoods and deadly volcanic gases belched up through cracks in the earth.
The evacuation zone could grow as fissures are spreading into new areas on the eastern side of the Big Island, Hawai‘i Civic Defence Administrator, Talmadge Magno, told a community meeting.
The south-east corner of the island was rocked by a powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the volcano’s south flank on Friday.
Scientists are forecasting the very real possibility of more eruptions and earthquakes, which could even last for months to come.
Janet Babb, a spokeswoman for the Hawai‘ian Volcano Observatory, said: “Eruptive activity is increasing and is expected to continue.”
She added the activity could continue “for weeks or months.”
- PNC sources