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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

DAY 6: The Leilani Estates Volcanic Eruption

Day 7 of the Leilani Estates eruption, and Madame Pele has stalled.  Three dozen structures, mostly homes, have been inundated by lava, but there have been no human and pet casualties.  Fountains have shot up to 330 feet, taller than the Statue of Liberty torch.  Left photo by Bruce Omori from the Washington Post.

While the normal population of Leilani Estates is around 1700, apparently, several dozen residents have decided not to evacuate.  Here below are two photos from Demian Barrios, and you can visit his Instagram page.  He said he is sticking around his home as his way of helping the community.  He actively contributes his shots to the Hawaii Tribune Herald:

Imagine being a resident of Leilani Estates.  First, if it has not happened yet, you worry about your home.  If you have insurance at all, for that has got to be expensive, will you be covered for something like an eruption?  The answer, incidentally, is mostly no, but if the heat from an approaching flow burns down your home before contacting it, then probably yes.  It's all in the interpretation, and most insurance companies are not all that accommodating, even if they seem to hint they are in commercial ads.  Even if luck is with you, you got to fear if you might never again be able to live comfortably in you home, or at all, for the roads are covered, utility service would be compromised and you're basically stuck, for real estate values are at the bottom.

So you ask, why are so many of them living there?  Cost.  The median single-family home on Oahu goes for $790,000, $725,000 on Maui, $640,000 on Kauai and $409,500 on the Big Island.  However, one-acre lots in the Puna area on the rift line sell for less than $5,000, and the nearby Nanawale Estates has a two-bedroom home on the market for $74,900.

You can be helpful.  Called Pu'uhonua o Puna, there is a makeshift donation site along Highway 130 to drop of bedding, clothes and other items for evacuees.  Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman who grew up close by the devastation, started GoFundMe.  You can contact:
  • GoFundMe:
  • American Red Cross of Hawaii:  
  •     (or call 808 7398109)
  • First Hawaiian Bank's Aloha for Hawaii fund:  
  •     (or call 808 988 2136)
UPDATE:  After almost a whole-day pause, the eruption continued this afternoon with two new vents, #13 (opened up directly under one home) and #14, at Lanipuna Gardens.  These are mostly one acre home lots, but prices are--now more like were--in the $100,000 range.

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