Late on Friday, May 11 (local time), US President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Hawaii over the ongoing eruption of Kilauea, making federal funding available for state and local recovery operations. At least 15 volcanic vents have opened in the lower East Rift Zone, emitting lava and toxic gas; though no lava has erupted from the fissures since Wednesday, May 9, further emission of lava is likely in the coming days, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The dropping level of the lava lake at Kilauea has also reportedly increased the chance of explosive steam-driven eruptions occurring in the coming weeks. Further eruptions of lava, toxic gas, ash, and rocks are possible at Kilauea in the near-term, which may result in consequent transportation disruptions.
Since Kilauea began erupting on May 3, the lava eruptions have destroyed dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of some 1800 people from Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was closed on May 11 until further notice due to the possibility of explosive steam-driven eruptions and consequent ashfall at Kilauea.
Hundreds of earthquakes ranging from magnitudes 2 to 5 have reportedly rocked the island since April 30. On May 4, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck approximately 16 km (10 mi) southwest of Leilani Estates. The earthquake, the largest to strike the Island of Hawai'i in decades, came after the initial eruption of Kilauea on May 3.
Kilauea volcano is one of Hawaii's most active volcanoes. It is located on the Hawai'i island of the state of Hawaii.
Individuals present in or intending to travel to the affected area are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel reservations, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders), and wear respiratory masks and covering clothing to protect skin in the event of an eruption of abrasive ash.
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