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Kilauea’s lava flows threaten to cut off rural community

by Leigh Jones
Posted 5/25/18, 12:32 pm

Three rivers of lava spewing from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano are now flowing into the ocean, prompting officials to warn residents to prepare for more evacuations. If the lava looks like it might cross a highway in the Big Island’s mostly rural community—cutting residents off from the only route to grocery stores, schools, and hospitals—officials will order them to leave. The U.S. Marine Corps deployed two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, each capable of carrying 50 passengers, to assist with evacuations if necessary. Kilauea began erupting three weeks ago, forcing about 2,000 residents into shelters. More than 20 volcanic vents are now releasing lava, sulfur dioxide, and steam along the volcano’s flank. About two-dozen homes have burned, and one person suffered a serious injury when a piece of flying lava hit him in the leg. Officials expect the so-far steady eruption to continue but don’t know whether the lava flow will increase or decrease.

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Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.

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