For the past week, the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has been releasing lava and blowing off toxic steam. Now, geologists warn that it may explode at the summit, which could result in devastating consequences, including “ballistic projectiles” that could weigh up to several tons, acid rain and hazardous volcanic smog, known as “vog.” Vog on its own can cause headaches and irritation of the lungs and eyes, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory problems.
“At this time, we cannot say with certainty that explosive activity will occur, how large the explosions could be, or how long such explosive activity could continue,” the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in an advisory.
At least 36 structures, including at least 26 homes, have been destroyed thus far. More than 1,700 people in Leilani Estates were forced to evacuate their homes. Check out this haunting footage of the lava flow in the video below:
With no end in sight, residents are worried about their futures and that of their homes.
“We can’t really peer through the ground and see it exactly in all its details and intricacies,” Bill Chadwick, a volcanologist at NOAA, told NPR. “It could last days, weeks, years. All that’s possible. It’s hard to say, unfortunately.”
There are a number of ways to help those who have been affected by the eruption. For one, you can donate to the Salvation Army, which is providing food and water to the Pahoa Community Center shelter and setting up a distribution center in Puna. First Hawaiian Bank has also established the Aloha for Hawaii Fund to support the Salvation Army’s services. Donations can be made at any of the bank’s branches in Hawaii, Guam and Spain or online through the Salvation Army.
“Our island communities have always mobilized quickly to bring assistance and comfort to those in need,” Bob Harrison, First Hawaiian chairman and CEO, told Honolulu Star Advertiser. “This is especially true in the outpouring of support for those affected by the recent Kilauea volcano eruption on the Big Island and the flooding on Kauai and in East Oahu.”
You can also donate to the Lava Flow Evacuees Aid Fund, which was set up by The Food Basket, a food bank that is providing food, water and supplies to affected residents.
Kolten Wong, a St. Louis Cardinals basketball player and Hawaii native, also set up a GoFundMe campaign to help fund the island’s rebuild.
We have our eye on the developments in Hawaii. In the meantime, we hope these efforts are a help during this difficult time.