Volcanoes are interesting phenomenons. Living on an island with active volcanoes is such an adventure. MM and I recently drove to Volcano and spent the night in the lodge at the foot of the caldera of glowing lava. It was truly awesome seeing the steam and red hot glow at night. But that is the thing about volcanoes. They are responsible for not only creation and enlarging our island, but also for seemingly random destruction. It is this yin yang experience that can give you "chicken skin" and yet make you shudder.
|Fireplace at Volcano Lodge with Madam Pele standing guard over the flames|
Right now, as of September 5, 2014, the east side of our island is experiencing a state of emergency, officially declared yesterday by our Mayor. The Pu'u O'o volcanic vent is actively producing lava that is flowing towards the town of Pahoa, which is in the same area that was hit by Hurricane Iselle just a few weeks ago. Unless, the lava changes course, it is expected to consume the first home in 4-6 days. The lava is moving approximately the distance of a football field each day. There are over 40,000 people who live in that area. Soon the main road way is expected to be covered by the flow of lava.
Over the past couple of days, residents over there have begun moving their livestock and making the tough decisions about what to pack up and take and what to leave when the evacuation begins.
This isn't the first time that lava has disrupted lives on this island and it won't be the last. However, it is sad and my heart goes out to those who have lost their homes and many belongings to Pele, the goddess of the volcano.
In 1801, the area that is now covered by homes of the rich and famous known as Kaupulehu, was once a thriving fishing village of about 10,000 people. Then the lava came and covered over that area. People moved and started over.
In 1986, on the other side of the island, near where lava is threatening homes today, was a town known as Kalapana and a town called Kaimu. Kaimu and Kaimu Bay are now underneath 50 feet of lava rock. The news media seemed to not be able to get enough of the images of people watching their homes burn as Pele's fingers reached out to the wooden posts supporting the houses.
This time, the Civil Defense has promised to keep media and "looky-loos" away to give these families some privacy in their darkest hours.
Please keep the people of Puna in your hearts and minds as they endure the prospect of losing their homes.
A hui hou