Although more recent events have overtaken its depiction of Hawaii island’s Puna communities, a survey conducted around the time of the 2014 Pahoa lava flows does shed some light.
The “June 27th Lava Flow Community Needs Survey” was taken Nov. 20-Dec. 11 that year by Mark Kimura and Kathryn Besio, as part of a post-doctoral research project for the geography and environmental sciences faculty at the University of Hawaii-Hilo campus.
Kimura, who now works in marketing analytics for Hawaiian Airlines, said he did the work as a matter of personal interest, having friends in the affected area. The survey drew in 784 responses in an area the U.S. Census shows as having 3,809 households.
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COMPLETE KILAUEA COVERAGE
About half the survey group, perhaps lacking a local support network, said they would need permanent or long-term housing if their home was destroyed, Kimura said.
Respondents roughly mirrored the Census population distribution: About 17 percent lived in Leilani Estates, currently the hardest-hit neighborhood.
Using that data as a baseline, Kimura projected that more than 800 people could need short- or long-term shelter in 2018, though fewer have turned up in shelters.
“It looks like people were able to find family and friends,” he added. “But … there will be long-term housing issues. That’s going to be more visible in the coming months.”