The Pahoa Emergency Evacuation Shelter on Hawaii island is officially closing at noon on Sept. 17, Hawaii County officials announced today.
The shelter has been open since the Kilauea eruption began on May 3, and at one point housed more than 550 evacuees displaced by the lava flows.
Roxcie Waltjen, director of Hawaii County Parks and Recreation, said there were about 45 evacuees left in the shelter and that it was working with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Hope Services, the Office of Housing and Development, the Office of Aging and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help resolve their housing issues.
“This has been the longest running emergency shelter in the history of Hawaii, and we will have been in operation for 138 days on Sept. 17,” Waltjen said in a news release. “I want to thank all of the shelter workers and the support provided from health care and mental health professionals who worked behind the scenes in providing a safe, caring and healthy environment for the evacuees.”
All has been relatively quiet at the Kilauea summit and Lower East Rift Zone since early August, but U.S. Geological Survey scientists say it is too soon to declare it over. They continue to monitor Kilauea for any signs of reactivation.