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New Hawaii lava fissures could spur more evacuations

New Hawaii lava fissures could spur more evacuations

Officials warned residents in an area of Lanipuna Gardens that the gas could cause severe conditions such as choking and the inability to breathe. Eighteen fissures have cracked open in the days since the eruption began, spewing lava through in some residential areas and toward the ocean.

At least four new fissures have opened on Hawaii's Kilauea volcano this week, prompting more evacuations.

Since eruptions began 10 days ago, dozens of homes have been destroyed and officials have ordered the evacuations of almost 2000 people in the lower Puna district of the Big Island, home to around 187,000 residents.

The Big Island tourism board estimates $5 million worth of cancellations from May through July.

Authorities say the volcano has produced almost 20 active lava fissures and destroyed more than two dozen homes.

Hawaii's Volcanic National Park is visited by more than 2 million visitors every year and pumps over NZ $3 billion into the local economy.

This is the "first leak we're seeing out of the bucket", Birch said.

1,800 people are already evacuated.

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Fountains of magma spouted "lava bombs" more than 30 metres into the air as the molten rock traveled east-southeast towards the coastal road - Highway 137 - the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

Dr. Alvin C. Bronstein, the Hawaii State Department of Health's chief of the Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, spoke during a press conference held outside the Hilo civil defense headquarters on Monday afternoon, where he reiterated that leaving the area of volcanic activity is the best way to protect yourself from SO2.

USGS officials have been saying such an explosive eruption is possible at Halemaumau crater at the top of the Kilauea volcano.

Residents living near the fissure were told to evacuate and two nearby community centers were serving as shelters for people and pets.

Since Kilauea started erupting nearly two weeks ago, the lava has scorched more than 40 structures.

Big Island authorities said the eruption effects just 10 percent of the island, so there's plenty to see and do without having to go near the red hot rivers of lava that continue to crawl their way out of fishers on the slopes of Kilauea.

In this May 13, 2018 frame from video released by the U.S. Geological Survey, gases rise from a fissure near Pahoa, Hawaii.


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