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Evacuations Possible As Lava Continues To Flow From Hawaii Volcano

The lava flow from Kilauea Volcano crossed Apa'a Street near Cemetery Road, near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii, on Friday. The flow began June 27; residents in the flow path have now been told to prepare for a possible evacuation.
U.S. Geological Survey
/
AP
The lava flow from Kilauea Volcano crossed Apa'a Street near Cemetery Road, near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii, on Friday. The flow began June 27; residents in the flow path have now been told to prepare for a possible evacuation.

The Puna region of Hawaii is under alert as lava continues to flow from the Kilauea volcano. The Associated Press reports:

"Authorities on Sunday said lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii had advanced about 250 yards since Saturday morning. The flow front had entered a cemetery and was about a half-mile from Pahoa Village Road, the town's main street.

"Residents in the flow path, in the mostly rural region of Puna, were told to complete all necessary preparations by Tuesday for a possible evacuation.

"The lava flow now threatening Pahoa, the largest town in Puna, began in June."

The U.S. Geological Service is providing daily updates on the flow of the volcano. On Sunday morning, the organization said Kilauea continues to erupt and a lava flow that started June 27 is still moving, at rates between 10 and 15 yards per hour. USGS says the flow front has "spread out since yesterday afternoon and is roughly estimated to be about 150 yd wide."

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has requested a presidential disaster declaration and a state of emergency was declared in Hawaii County last month.

Local Hawaii news station KHON2 says officials in the area are also working on an alternate path for residents to escape the lava flow, should the need arise:

"Work has also begun for an emergency access route between Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kalapana along the historic Chain of Craters Road.

" 'It's probably going to take between 45 and 60 days. After that the surfaces will be laid and hopefully we'll end up with a two-lane, 22-foot-wide gravel road that people from Puna will be able to access,' said park superintendent Cindy Orlando."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.
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