Lava Evacuees Need Help

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The community of Lower Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii has made global news in recent weeks with the unprecedented and massive eruption of Kilauea volcano in both residential and agricultural areas. With little warning people fled their homes grabbing only the bare essentials, others had slightly more time to move animals and cherished possessions.

Thousands of people in the community evacuated their homes as the entire area has become dangerous or uninhabitable at times due to toxic gasses, fires, smoke, earthquakes, ash, interrupted utilities and impassable roadways, all making safe or normal living impossible.

There is no indication of the eruption slowing down and it's become less certain if homes or areas that endure will ever be inhabitable again. Unlike hurricanes or fires that predictably favor areas of Florida or California each season, the extremely rare event of a lava flow in ones neighborhood is often not covered by insurance. Many have lost everything - homes, businesses, possessions - and are exhausting whatever remaining resources they have to simply stay afloat.

Currently over 200 homes or structures have been destroyed thus far, making Puna eligible for individual FEMA aid. While the community is grateful for the support for enhanced emergency services, and the island ohana is helping in countless ways, financial aid for families and individuals is needed now.

The Puna community asks government agencies to support displaced and affected Puna residents from the lava flow by issuing FEMA funds to help people recover from this unique, on-going and devastating event.

*photo credit Bruce Omori of Extreme Exposure used with permission



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