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Volcanic eruption endangers homes, lives in Hawaii

05 May 2018

In this photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, red ash rises from the Puu Oo vent on Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano after a magnitude-5.0 natural disaster struck the Big Island, Thursday, May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Watch the ABC7 Quake Cam live The massive quake was centered near the south flank of Kilauea volcano, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Since Monday, hundreds of earthquakes - majority around 2.0 magnitude - have been recorded in the area. "Residents in that area should be prepared to evacuate", said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno.

A lava eruption from Kilauea volcano coming out of a fissure in the ground has not occurred in a residential area since 1960.

"Eruption of lava in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano continues".

The lava was not travelling more than a "few tens of yards" from the vents, which were on streets in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood near Big Island's eastern tip, the USGS said. He said he told his mom on Friday morning to pack a bag, just in case.

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In addition to the danger from lava, civil defence officials are warning the public about high levels of sulphur dioxide, which can cause irritation or burns, sore throats, runny noses, burning eyes and coughing.

For now, Kim Larson and numerous people in the Leilani Estates and Puna area of the big Hawaiian Island can only hope and pray their property will be spared.

The new activity comes a day after Kilauea volcano erupted. "What is that? And then all of a sudden, we smelled the sulfur", one resident told a reporter as they stood watching lava spring from the ground.

After authorities had warned for several days of an impending eruption, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano delivered Thursday. "We will monitor the situation closely, and reopen when it is safe to do so", Orlando said.

Kim splits her time between the Leilani Estates area on Hawaii and Seward, Alaska.

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County, state and federal officials had been warning residents all week that they should be prepared to evacuate, as an eruption would give little warning. Residents in the area have also reported cracks on roads. Lava flows from the volcano have covered 48 square miles (125 square km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Safety is our main priority at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, and it is now not safe to be here", said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

Out of concern for his dogs, he spent his first night as an evacuee sleeping under the awning of a concession building in the county park that includes the gymnasium where most people stayed.

Officials have said it's impossible to predict where an eruption might happen, but areas that could be affected include Nanawele Estates, Leilani Estates and the coastal area of Kapoho.

Gov. David Ige activated the Hawaii National Guard to assist with evacuations and security.

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The Puu Oo crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering a series of earthquakes and pushing the lava into new underground chambers.

Volcanic eruption endangers homes, lives in Hawaii