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PHOTOS: Hawaii volcano forces evacuations as lava destroys homes

Over 1500 residents have been ordered to evacuate the surrounding areas as some lose their homes.

Lava has spurted onto nearby roads causing residents to evacuate.
Lava has spurted onto nearby roads causing residents to evacuate.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE have been forced to flee parts of Hawaii after the Kilauea volcano erupted last Thursday, spitting out lava from ground fissures and releasing dangerous gases into residential areas.

While lava continued to erupt intermittently in the Leilani Estates area – with red-hot lava fountains sometimes spouting 70 meters into the air – other eruptions have ceased.

But highly toxic sulfur dioxide gas pouring from some fissures continued to contribute to “extremely dangerous” conditions.

“The high levels of sulfur dioxide are a threat to all who become exposed,” the Hawaii County Civil Defense office said in an alert.

Hawaii Volcano A new fissure erupts in Leilani Estates in Pahoa, Hawaii. Source: AP/PA Images

 

UPI 20180506 Lava from Fissure 7 slowly advancing on Hookapu Street in Leilani Estates. Source: UPI/PA Images

 

Hawaii Volcano Lava flows toward a home in Puna District. Source: AP/PA Images

 

Hawaii Volcano Resident Sam Knox watches lava stretch across road which is a few hundreds yards from his home. Source: PA/Marco Garcia

Hawaii Volcano The extremely toxic volcanic gas streams out of a vent in the ground. Source: PA/Marco Garcia

 

Hawaii Volcano Glowing plumes of lava have shot hundreds of feet into the air at some point, officials say. Source: PA/Caleb Jones

The area has suffered several severe shocks since Thursday, when a magnitude 5 earthquake under Kilauea’s south flank set off an initial eruption. A quake Friday was measured at magnitude 6.9, the most powerful to hit the islands since 1975.

Kilauea – which according to Hawaiian folklore is home to Pele, the volcano goddess – saw nearly continuous activity during the 19th century.

It is one of five currently active volcanoes on Hawaii Island, sometimes known as the archipelago’s Big Island.

“Kilauea ranks among the world’s most active volcanoes,” says the US Geological Survey (USGS), “and may even top the list.”

© AFP 2018

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