WATCH: Kilauea volcano continues destructive flow in Hawaii

2018-05-28 08:44
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Hawaii has been gripped by unstable and unpredictable volcanic eruptions for almost a month, with nearly two dozen lava vents opening up across its rural communities.

Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has destroyed homes, livelihoods and nature.

Hawaii County has ordered about 2 000 people to evacuate from Leilani Estates and surrounding neighborhoods since the eruption began on 3 May.

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The volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and steam. The lava has been pouring down the flank of the volcano and into the ocean miles away.

The eruption has destroyed 50 buildings, including about two dozen homes. One person was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava.

Lava spatter from one of the vents was forming a wall that was helping protect a nearby geothermal plant. Lava from that vent was shooting further into the air and producing the highest lava wall of all the vents, which was blocking molten rock from flowing north toward the plant.

Officials shut down Puna Geothermal shortly after the eruption began. Earlier this month officials removed a flammable gas called pentane from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions.

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In addition to the physical destruction, the volcano has cost the tourism industry millions of dollars. Cancellations from May through July have hit at least $5 million (about R61.95 million @R12.39/$), said Ross Birch, executive director of the island's tourism board.

The booking pace for hotels and other activities, such as tours for lava viewing, zip lines and glass bottom boats have fallen 50 percent. A handful of cruise ships have also decided not to come into port even in Kona on the west side of the island, about 129 kilometres away from the volcano.