Volcanic eruptions on Big Island destroys homes

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By Bruno Maynez

Many homes in Big Island were consumed by recent volcanic eruptions, according to Laie locals. Herbert Ishibashi, an alumnus and resident of the Big Island, said, “From what I understand, it’s not so bad for some people, fortunately the case for my family, and it’s really bad for others.


“It’s a really scary situation for those who have a lot of stuff that could be taken away from them by the lava. Home insurance doesn’t cover the lava damages, so those who actually lost their homes have really lost most of their earthly possessions.”


The Star Advertiser reported on June 6, “The latest confirmed count of homes overrun by lava has increased to 130 from 117, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense today. The figure, however, is expected to soar as ‘hundreds of homes’ are believed to be destroyed in Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots, said spokeswoman Janet Snyder.”


Ishibashi continued, “I think it’s important now more than ever to come together and help with evacuations, securing belongings, and providing shelter to those who are in direct threat."


USA Today reported, “The full extent of destruction was still coming into focus Tuesday, but Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County, told the Associated Press it was ‘safe to say that hundreds of homes were lost’ in the Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland neighborhoods of the Big Island.”


April Housman, a professor of Hawaiian studies at BYU-Hawaii and a resident on the Big Island, said, “The recent lava flow is a devastating misfortune for many families living in the Puna district. We have a home located on the upper side of Leilani Estates. But so far, our home has been spared. Whether our home is taken by lava or left unharmed, we are at peace knowing the potential disaster for our family is in the hands of the Lord. We donʻt always understand the reason for challenges in our lives until later, but we have faith that the Lord sees the bigger picture in these difficult times.


According to the Star Advertiser, “Lava has ravaged all of Vacationland and only the northern tier of Kapoho Beach Lots remains for now. Officials are reviewing daily aerial photographs and footage as well as census and property tax records to determine the number of homes consumed by lava. Census records show about 350 homes at Vacationland and 150 homes at Kapoho Beach Lots, according to Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno.”


Housman shared, “One of our own BYUH students, Heather Kealani Haney, is flying to the Big Island this weekend to assist those in need and provide beautiful blankets that she has hand sewn herself.


“She is fulfilling President David O. McKayʻs vision through service to those in need. She is just one of the many examples that show the spirit of Aloha that our society is so in need of today.”

Date Published: 
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Last Edited: 
Wednesday, July 18, 2018