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Hawaii News

Number of residents evacuated is unclear

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said Sunday that officials are not sure exactly how many of the estimated 1,800 residents in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions have actually evacuated.

“You’ve got people who are sheltering with their relatives, friends, in their cars. So it’s very hard for us to know how many people actually did evacuate,” she said.

There also are people who have stayed in the two subdivisions “for whatever reason,” she said.

“We are urging them to evacuate immediately because of elevated (sulfur dioxide) levels,” Snyder said. “The air quality is very bad.”


Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park partially reopened Sunday at 3 p.m. after closing following Friday afternoon’s magnitude-6.9 earthquake and its many aftershocks.

“Our primary objective is the safety of employees, park partners and visitors,” said park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The limited opening allows us to respond to new volcanic and seismic events should they occur and the closures that remain are necessary to keep people out of dangerous and unassessed areas. Visitors should expect changing conditions and be prepared for unannounced closures.”

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported about 500 earthquakes in the Kilauea Volcano area since Friday afternoon’s magnitude-6.9 quake, which was centered in Leilani Estates, where the lava outbreak is occurring. Frequent small aftershocks continue.

Park officials said the following areas are open: The Entrance Station from Highway 11 to Jaggar Museum is open from 3 to 10 p.m.; Jaggar Museum will close at 8 p.m. (the outdoor overlook will remain open until 10 p.m.); Kilauea Visitor Center is open from 3 to 8 p.m; Sulphur Banks Trail; Steam Vents parking lot; Crater Rim Trail is open from Kilauea Overlook to Jaggar Museum only; the Entrance Station to the 1969 lava flow near Mauna Ulu; Mauna Ulu to Puuhuluhulu (Napau Trail is closed past Puuhuluhulu); Escape Road from Highway 11 to Mauna Ulu; Mauna Loa Road from Highway 11 to the Mauna Loa Lookout; and Kipuka­puaulu.

All other park areas are closed.


First Hawaiian Bank is contributing $50,000 to provide support to Big Island residents displaced by the volcanic eruption. The bank announced Saturday night it has joined with Child & Family Service to offer direct assistance to affected residents with transitional housing and counseling for individuals and families with children experiencing trauma.

“This contribution and partnership with Child & Family Service is intended to provide needed relief to the residents directly affected by the recent volcanic activity,” First Hawaiian Chairman and CEO Bob Harrison said.

Child & Family Service, one of Hawaii’s oldest and largest nonprofits, provides counseling and therapeutic services to help Hawaii’s families address serious life challenges such as poverty, abuse and neglect.

“The funds will directly support the physical as well as emotional needs of families who are experiencing trauma from the earthquakes and volcanic activity,” said Karen Tan, president and CEO of Child & Family Service.

First Hawaiian’s Community Care employee volunteer program also will be sending out volunteers in the affected communities to lend a hand where needed.

The bank said customers who were affected may contact First Hawaiian for assistance through its loan relief program.


The Department of Water Supply issued an emergency water restriction for Leilani Estates, Kapoho Beach Lots, Lanipuna Gardens, Pohoiki Bay Estates, Green Lake Farm Lots, Vacationland and all customers on Pohoiki and Kalapana Kapoho Beach roads. Customers must restrict water use to health and safety needs only, the department said. Water spigots have been installed near the entrance of Lava Tree State Park, and a water tanker has been placed in Vacationland for public use, officials said.


The U.S. Postal Service said evacuated residents can pick up their mail at the Pahoa Post Office and that the downtown Hilo Post Office is closed until further notice due to possible structural damage to the Hilo Federal Building at 154 Waianuenue Ave. after Friday’s magnitude-6.9 quake. Downtown’s post office box customers can pick up their mail from the will-call window at the Hilo Main Post Office at 1299 Kekuanaoa St. from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Customers using this service must present photo identification to pick up their mail.

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