The Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s largest island has erupted, prompting a local state of emergency and mandatory evacuation of over 1,700 residents.
Rivers of lava can be seen running through the woods and across roads. Dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide gas have also been detected in the area, according to the Civil Defense Agency.
The Kilauea volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. A series of recent earthquakes were felt in the area prior to the eruption.
“It sounds like a jet engine,” said Ikaika Marzo, a resident on the island. “It’s going hard.”
Evacuees have found shelter in community centers that have opened their doors during the emergency.
Talmadge Mango, the civil defense administrator for Hawaii County, has reported that power lines have melted off their poles near the lava flow.
“Seismic activity is still extremely high, so we feel that this might just be the beginning of things,” he said.
Due to the increased seismic activity, officials had warned residents that they should be prepared to evacuate with little to no warning.
The Puu Oo volcanic crater vent collapsed earlier this week, sending lava down the mountain slope and towards populated areas.
One resident, Stephen Clapper, said that he told his mother to pack her bags “just in case” and wasted no time getting in a car to drive to safety once the volcano erupted.
“My neighbor came running over and said, ‘What’s that awful noise?’” said Clapper. “He said he had never heard a noise like it and he’s been here for 40 years.”
Please pray for the safety for all those who live near the volcano and their families.