'It's saddening': Massive river of lava wipes out hundreds of homes

HOLLYN JOHNSON  Tribune-Herald Lava flows into Green Lake on Sunday in lower Puna. Special thanks to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

This stunning video from The US Geological Survey captures all the insanity of molten lava pouring into the ocean after the eruption of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island a month ago.

"We don't have an estimate yet, but safe to say that hundreds of homes were lost in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland last night", Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County, said on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT).

At least 117 homes have been destroyed since lava began flowing, Magno said, but this doesn't include those affected in Kapoho and Vacationland.

And it not only took homes, it completely filled Kapoho Bay, extending 0.8 miles from the coastline. She said that lava from Kilauea volcano had completely covered the subdivision in Kapoho and at last report, just a small portion of Kapoho Beach Lots remained.

The devastating flow that cut through Kapoho can all be sourced back to fissure no. 8, which has been creating fountains of lava for 12 days straight.

410 people are staying at county shelters.

"What used to be the bay is now all lava bed, new land, nearly a mile out into the ocean", the civil defense spokesman said.

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Snyder said from now on, the county will provide counts of homes destroyed.

Hawaii's exploding Kilauea volcano is now erupting huge balls of lava which are shooting into the sky before falling down to the sea.

"I just locked my doors and walked away", said Betty Oberman, a 28-year Vacationland resident who headed the neighborhood watch organization there.

Thousands of people have been displaced, and the slow-moving nature of the event has many living in a state of agonizing uncertainty.

About three dozen of those structures, mostly private homes and vacation rentals, were lost during the weekend in Kapoho. "And I don't know what to do", she said. (Reuters/Terray Sylvester) Lava threatens homes in the Kapoho area.

Residents in the nearby areas should also be prepared to evacuate with little notice, officials said. The rest were consumed weeks earlier in the larger Leilani Estates subdivision several miles to the west, where lava-spouting fissures in the ground first opened on May 3.

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