Hawaiians Allowed to Watch Lava Destroy Their Homes

Flow is just a few dozen yards from structures
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2014 11:31 PM CDT
Updated Oct 28, 2014 3:30 AM CDT
Hawaii: Residents Can Watch Lava Destroy Their Homes
This photo provided by the US Geological Survey shows a small shed being consumed by lava in a pasture near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii.   (AP Photo/US Geological Survey)

With lava now just yards away, residents of Hawaii's Big Island can only watch helplessly as the unstoppable flow of molten rock destroys their homes—but at least the state is letting them do that. Officials say that arrangements will be made for people who live in the path of the flow from the Kilauea volcano to witness the destruction, reports the AP. "This will provide for a means of closure," a Hawaii County civil defense official says. "You can only imagine the frustration as well as ... despair they're going through."

The 110-yard-wide flow of lava was only 70 yards from the nearest homes in Pahoa village as of Monday afternoon; around 40 households in its path have been advised to evacuate, reports the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Most have already left, and the "disappointed but accepting" couple whose home is nearest the flow have finished removing their belongings, officials say. As the flow crawls forward, civil defense crews are rushing to build access roads to prevent thousands of people in the Puna district from becoming "lava-locked" as roads are cut off, Reuters reports. (More Hawaii stories.)

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