As lava, toxic gases, and steam continue to burst through new vents in the ground of a Hawaii neighborhood, the 1,700 people evacuated from the area have no idea when they might be able to go home—and some no longer have homes to return to. Hawaii County officials say at least 30 structures, including 26 homes, have been been destroyed by lava in the Leilani Estates subdivision, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. Some residents whose streets were declared safe were allowed to briefly return to the neighborhood on Hawaii's Big Island Sunday to collect pets, medicines, and vital documents, reports KHON 2.
Amber Makuakane, a 37-year-old teacher and single mother of two, tells the AP that her home, across from a fissure that opened up Friday, was among those destroyed. "The volcano and the lava—it's always been a part of my life," says Makuakane, who grew up in the area. "It's devastating ... but I've come to terms with it." Hundreds of earthquakes have hit the area in recent days, among them a magnitude 6.9 quake Friday, the strongest to hit the state in 43 years. Scientists say there is no sign that the quakes and the increased activity of the Kilauea volcano, which has sent lava into underground chambers beneath the subdivision, will stop any time soon. (Read more Kilauea volcano stories.)