​Hawaii Lava Flow Prompts Obama To Order Major Disaster

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Nov, 4, 2014 | 6:13 PM

The Hawaii lava flow has prompted President Barack Obama to declare the site of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii a major disaster.

Federal aid has been ordered to supplement state and local recovery efforts, and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. As slow-moving lava approached a cemetery in a rural Hawaii town, a family plot goes buried, according to CBS News. But there could be more trouble brewing.

The Hawaii lava flow is encroaching on Pahoa, a rural town on the state’s Big Island, threatening to destroy a major road in the already-isolated town at the site of an old sugar plantation. The leading edge of the flow has paused about 185 yards from Pahoa Village Road, the main thoroughfare. The smoldering lava is a little more than 300 feet away from a home in the town.

Eric Johnson, a teacher at the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS), said he can see the smoke getting closer with loud booms and blasts.

“We can definitely see a bit of a glow, smell the smoke and the burning vegetation … On occasions, I’ve heard loud booms, like shotgun blasts, when methane pockets in the ground explode.”

As the Hawaii lava flow continues to expand further away from Pahoa, it threatens to put more people at risk, US Geological Survey geologist Frank Trusdell said.

“As the flow widens of course then the downslope areas get wider as well and so the potential impact for people spreads out over a larger area.”

The state’s National Guard deployed 83 troops Thursday to the town of about 950 residents, to assist with security, including the construction of a roadblock and other pressing safety issues, Yahoo News reports. Local resident Robert Petricci said that he’s more worried about the government than the volcano.

“I’m not worried about the volcano, I’m worried about the government … The lava has been inching forward for 30 years, now the National Guard is here with Humvees and flak vests like it’s a war zone. Everything’s a mess, with all the checkpoints, asking people who they’re riding with and where they’re going.”

As the Hawaii lava flow continues to threaten more land, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator W. Craig Fugate named Kenneth K. Suiso as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

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