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117 Homes Had Been Lost to Lava. Now, Hundreds More

'It's not our land,' says one resident of Vacationland
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 6, 2018 5:33 AM CDT
This photo from video provided by the US Geological Survey from the late evening hours of Monday, June 4, 2018, shows shows lava fountaining at a fissure, near Pahoa on the island of Hawaii.   (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)
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(Newser) – Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano destroyed hundreds more homes, overtaking two oceanfront communities where residents were advised to evacuate last week, officials said Tuesday. No injuries were reported as most residents had left. The lost homes were in addition to at least 117 others destroyed since lava began spilling last month from cracks in the ground in a mostly rural district of the Big Island. "We don't have an estimate yet, but safe to say that hundreds of homes were lost in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland last night," a Hawaii County rep said. A morning overflight confirmed that lava had completely filled Kapoho Bay, inundated most of Vacationland, and covered all but the northern part of Kapoho Beach Lots, the USGS' Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

Lava claimed Harry Pomerleau's home in Vacationland. "It's a necessary evil. It's not our land. It belongs to Pele," he said, referring to the Hawaiian volcano goddess. "I have to imagine she knows what she's doing." County Managing Director Wil Okabe added, "For us it's more of a vacation area, but for those who live there permanently, they're trying to figure out where they're going to be living." One shelter was full Tuesday. Gov. David Ige signed a second emergency proclamation Tuesday that gives the county more options for shelters and sets criminal penalties for violating emergency rules. Kapoho resident Mark Johnson was coming to terms with the possibility of losing his home and 5-acre citrus farm. "I'm really kind of at peace," he said. "I've had 28 years of wonderful experience down there."

(Read more Kilauea volcano stories.)

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