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Sunday, December 27, 2015

IS PAHOA IN PUNA THE CURRENT EQUIVALENT OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH?

Okay, the title is an exaggeration, but  as this is Sunday, I wanted to insert some biblical reference.  People today associate Sodom and Gomorrah with a specific kind of sin and vice in general, through divine intervention, destroyed with fire and brimstone, perhaps 4000 years ago.  There is today a Mount Sodom in Israel.  

So why are God and Madam Pele so pissed off with the village of Pahoa in the region of Puna?  For one, it is the Wild West of Hawaii, where there is a tolerated drug culture.  For a rather small population, people get murdered there at too high a frequency.

Anyway, last year came Iselle, the strongest tropical storm to land on the Big Island in recorded history.  Damages totaled $80 million throughout the state, with Puna getting the brunt of the bill.  However, no one was killed on the island (one died on Kauai).  Then, soon thereafter, Hurricane Julio at 120 MPH, which fizzled before reaching land.  But the fear factor was real.

This is almost unbelievable, but no one has experienced a hurricane (74+ MPH) on the Big Island, nor Maui, nor Oahu.  Mind you, winds have exceeded hurricane strength, but only at the peaks of our highest volcanoes.  Here are the tracks of these major storms:


But regarding Pahoa, then came the brimstone (which in the Bible means sulfur) part, for a little more than a year ago I posted:  THE MOST DANGEROUS SPOT ON PLANET EARTH.

Pahoa is the largest and only real town in this part of Puna.  Moving at 100 feet per day, the flow is unpredictable, and might well be within two weeks of covering this town in a worst case scenario.  The scale is for the larger map above, but as of yesterday, lava was three miles away.  However, that is the "city."  Kaohe Homesteads with up to 30 households is within heat distance, a few hundred yards, of this flow, which presently appears to be bypassing this site.  So far, this 31 year old eruption has consumed 214 homes.


Then the following month, IS THIS THE END OF PUNA?

However, not one person got killed and, according to the Star Advertiser yesterday:


So far, then, no deaths and some property damage, not anywhere close to the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah.  (John Martin created these S&G paintings more than a century and a half ago.)  But now there is pestilence in Puna, something these cities of the past never experienced.  The Hawaii Health Department has placed Pahoa on their dengue watch.  How's this for a bit of exaggeration, for, according to the Star Advertiser:

     Dengue cases jump by 1 to 181 on Hawaii isle

This is a big deal in the state, and tourism officials are concerned, plus, of course, the people of the Big Island, too.  Pahoa?  As far as I know, no known cases of dengue fever.

And here is the part that puzzles me.  My posting earlier this month of ABOUT THAT DENGUE FEVER OUTBREAK IN HAWAII indicated that there could well be, annually, up to 100,000,000...or 100 million...dengue incidents around the world.  In not one newspaper nor magazine nor TV news report has that figure been stated.  Sure it might well only be 50 million, depending on who you ask, but 181 versus tens of million?  Pahoa is not suffering from pestilence.  On other hand, how many of you realized dengue is also into major portions of the USA?


Thus, the answer to the title above is a resounding NO!!!  On the other hand, no one has ever credibly proven that there ever were Sodom and Gomorrah.  Biblical scholars keep searching for them in the Middle East, but much of the Bible--say the miracles and the actuality of a talking snake regarding Eve--are fabricated folk tales.  So the comparison with Pahoa in Puna is perhaps faulty.  In any case, the villagers are getting back their lives, and that is good, so I wish them well for a long time to come, even though Madam Pele continues to be active upstream of the region.


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