The state of Hawaii is continuing to suffer from the effects of a volcanic eruption from Mount Kīlauea. The natural eruption sent lava across the island, burning through homes, streets and automobiles.
Governor of Hawaii David Ige declared a state of emergency over the volcanic eruption and petitioned President Trump for federal assistance. In a letter to the president, Ige said, “This disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments. Direct federal assistance is necessary.”
And, “I took the appropriate action under state law and proclaimed an emergency for Hawai’i County effective May 3, 2018. This proclamation authorized the expenditure of State monies as appropriate to provide for the speedy and efficient relief of the damages, losses, and suffering resulting from the seismic activity and lava flow. Furthermore, I directed the execution of the State of Hawai’i Emergency Operations Plan in accordance with Section 401 of the Stafford Act.”
Here’s what the Hawaii governor said about the eruption and the subsequent damage:
On May 1, 2018, an earthquake with a 4.0 magnitude occurred in the vicinity of the Kilauea East Rift Zone that caused the wall of Pu’u ‘Ô’ö vent to collapse and release lava into the East Rift Zone lava tube network. HVO issued a report that a migration of seismicity and deformation downrift (east) of Pu’u ‘Ô’ö indicated that a large area along the East Rift Zone was potentially at risk of a new outbreak, possibly in the lower Puna area.
On May 3, 2018, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake occurred and cracks developed on Mohala Street in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the Puna District. At 5:35 pm HST, HVO raised the Volcano Alert Level from Watch to Warning. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency called for an evacuation of the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions based on the potential threat from the lava intrusion. Based on the 2010 census, these neighborhoods have 835 homes and 1,777 residents.
On Thursday, May 4, 2018 at 4:30 am HST, the lava broke through the surface within Leilani Estates and a 100-foot fountain of lava spewed from the fissure. On Friday, May 5, 2018 a magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred at 12:32 pm HST, generating a small local tsunami. It was the largest earthquake in Hawaii since 1975. This earthquake was preceded by a strong magnitude 5.4 earthquake approximately one hour prior. Several aftershocks already occurred, the largest of which was a magnitude 4.8. Aftershocks are expected for several more months. USGS warns that large aftershocks may produce rockfalls and associated ash clouds above the Pu’u ‘O’O vent and the Halema’uma’u crater. These ash clouds pose a continuing threat to public health. Several buildings have reported minor damages from the earthquakes. Data from Hazus estimates structural damages from the magnitude 6.9 earthquake at $4.5 million; however, detailed damage assessments are not possible at this time.
Here’s even more, per Daily Wire:
The disaster could cost upwards of $2.9 million over the next month – and that would only include the temporary efforts to protect those affected by the volcanic activity. According to Governor Ige, repairing permanent damage will require additional funds.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has issued an “orange warning” for Kilauea, saying the volcano has “very high threat potential.” The lava lake in the volcano’s crater has been going down and if the lava drops low enough to meet groundwater, the resulting steam could produce explosions.
Nearby Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth, is also rated as a “very high threat potential” by the Observatory.
Trump quickly responded to the request, granting federal funding and designating the incident a “major disaster.”
Here’s Trump’s statement:
Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Hawaii and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides from April 13 to April 16, 2018.
Federal funding is available to the State and to eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides in the City and County of Honolulu and Kauaʻi County.
In the response letter, Trump said federal funding was available via a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation response teams across the state. Also in the letter, the White House said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long named “Dolph A. Diemont as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.”Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.