• Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Pahoa Elementary teacher loses home to lava

  • COURTESY AMBER MAKUAKANE

    This photo from the GoFundMe page set up for Amber Makuakane shows the Pahoa Elementary teacher with her children, Alana, 6, and Aaron, 4.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this still frame taken from video, lava flows over a road in the Puna District as a result of the eruption from Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

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A GoFundMe page was set up today for school teacher Amber Makuakane, a single mother of two children who “lost everything” in the Leilani Estates lava flow, according to the fundraiser.

“Her home was one of the first five homes completely consumed by the lava,” the page at https://www.gofundme.com/help-amber-rebuild states. “Amber was born, raised and graduated from Pahoa. Her parents also reside in Leilani Estates and had to evacuate.”

The Hawaii State Teachers Association said it was passing along the sad news about Makuakane’s home. She is a teacher at Pahoa Elementary School, HSTA said.

Makuakane, 37, evacuated on Friday with three trash bags of clothes, two towels, three blankets, a cooler with food, a riding lawn mower, her kids’ bikes, a grill and important documents, the GoFundMe page says. Her children are Alana, 6, and Aaron, 4.

One of the lava fissures emerged directly over where her home once stood on Makamae Street, which was completely destroyed, according to the HSTA and fundraising page.

She and her family lived in the home for nine years, HSTA said.

“I honestly don’t know where to begin or what to say, other than … MAHALO! MAHALO MAHALO!,” Makuakane said on GoFundMe. “The outpouring of love and support from people around the world, my dearest family and friends, my colleagues and the amazing people of our community and the state of Hawaii is truly overwhelming.”

Although she has homeowner’s insurance, the insurance will not cover the loss unless she is able to prove that her home was consumed by fire before the lava, the page said.

“She is faced with finding a place to to rent while paying for her mortgage and replacing the necessities to live a normal life,” according to the page.

As of about 1 p.m., $4,085 had been raised toward a $100,000 goal.

“We are asking for donations to help her rebuild. If you know Amber, you know that she has the biggest heart and is always willing to help,” the page said. “She is not one who will ask for help, but we feel that she needs our support in this tragic time.”

Makuakane posted that “this is just another obstacle on my life’s journey that I will see through and overcome.”

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