Hawaii's Big Island Braces For More Eruptions
LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:
We're going to turn now to Hawaii's Big Island, where the Kilauea volcano continues to belch smoke and lava. And there are warnings of possible explosions to come. Hawaii Public Radio's Ku'uwehi Hiraishi met up with some of the people who've been forced out of their homes.
KU'UWEHI HIRAISHI, BYLINE: Janet Morrow's been in an emergency shelter for a week now. She was forced out of her home in Leilani Estates after a three-mile stretch of volcanic fissures broke through the ground nearby.
JANET MORROW: I really don't know where I'm going from here. I'm - my house is currently safe. And I'm not near the activity, but who knows what will happen with that?
HIRAISHI: Morrow is one of hundreds of residents ordered to evacuate their homes when lava and toxic gas began spewing from the cracks in the ground. Hawaii county volunteers unload a truck full of new cots for evacuees, and community members use carts to haul cases of water, boxes of used clothing, and other donated supplies.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Thank you, Martha.
MARTHA: You're so welcome.
HIRAISHI: In the parking lot outside the shelter, evacuee April Buxton fortified several pop-up tents into a makeshift dwelling.
APRIL BUXTON: We've got basically like a three bedroom area tent set up. I got - I went and bought an inverter for my diesel so we have power.
HIRAISHI: Buxton also bought plastic storage containers to protect her clothes and supplies from the rain.
BUXTON: We can't get a break between the fumes, the lava, the earthquakes and now pouring rain. And we're trying to keep everything we're camping with dry.
HIRAISHI: I asked how long she's willing to live in her temporary home.
BUXTON: For me, I'm camping out as long as my house is standing. I'm not leaving. I don't care if it's three, four months until I can go back to my house.
HIRAISHI: But it could be much longer. Pi’ilani Ka’awaloa was at a recent community meeting. She said, she experienced the volcano's most destructive eruption in recent history, 28 years ago, when lava engulfed her home in the seaside village of Kalapana.
PI’ILANI KA’AWALOA: For us, it was devastating. It was 30 years - 30-plus years of being displaced.
HIRAISHI: The 1990 lava flow destroyed an estimated 180 homes and covered the black sand beach of Kaimu. She has since rebuilt but she says, Kalapana will never be the same. Back outside the emergency shelter, the Mamone family was quick to get their food truck to the shelters to provide hot meals to the evacuees.
SERGE MAMONE: This is my whole family that chilled with me today - my sisters, my wife, my kids.
HIRAISHI: Serge Mamone leads his family in plating a breakfast of eggs, ham, and rice. He talks about Aloha - or love.
MAMONE: I really love our culture. And when we were growing up, you know, everybody took care of each other. I really still got a lot of aloha in me and I pass them on so my parents and my grandparents will be happy.
HIRAISHI: Mamone says, growing up on the island, kids were taught to take care of Pele, the volcano goddess. If you take things for granted, he said, she'll take back what is hers. For NPR News, I'm Ku'uwehi Hiraishi in Puna. You're listening to NPR News.
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