UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — A community on Hawaii’s Big Island is being swallowed by lava.
Cracks in Kilauea Volcano’s eastern rift zone started spurting molten rock Thursday, May 3.
As of this recording on Monday, lava and toxic fumes issuing from at least 10 fissures in the Leilani Estates neighborhood have forced nearly 2,000 people to flee their homes.
The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said the creeping tide of molten magma and “volcanic fountaining” has destroyed more than two dozen homes.
Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder told The Associated Press the number of ruined structures could climb and called the situation “heartbreaking.”
The initial cracks are expected to harden and close as the lava moves onward but experts say as they do, the remaining vents will start spurting molten rock higher than ever — up to 1,000 feet into the air.
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim told Hawaii News Now, “This is unfortunately not the end.”