In this Sunday, May 6, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a lava flow moves across Makamae Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa on the island of Hawaii. Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than two dozen homes since it began spewing lava hundreds of feet into the air last week, and residents who evacuated don’t know how long they might be displaced. The decimated homes were in the Leilani Estates subdivision, where molten rock, toxic gas and steam have been bursting through openings in the ground created by the volcano. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

Hawaiian volcanic eruption leaves former Vancouver resident shaken

Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than two dozen homes since it began spewing lava hundreds of feet into the air last week

A former Vancouver resident who owns a tea farm near the Kilauea volcano says her small Hawaiian community has been traumatized since molten lava began spewing several days ago.

Eliah Halpenny says she and her husband heard about some activity with the volcano before the lava began to flow last Thursday.

“We climbed up on the roof — this is before the real shaking started — and we could see this big red, black plume coming out of (the crater),” said Halpenny, who owns the tea farm with her husband and has lived in Hawaii for 17 years.

The farm is about 25 kilometres away from a neighbourhood that has been covered with molten rock and toxic gas.

Halpenny hasn’t witnessed the destruction, but she has seen smoke rising from the area.

“It’s pretty scary. It really is,” she said, adding that she feels lucky to live uphill from lava flow.

More than two dozen homes have been destroyed and about 2,000 people have been forced to flee the area.

The volcanic eruption also set off hundreds of earthquakes, including a magnitude-6.9 quake on Friday that sent various items crashing down around Halpenny’s home.

She isn’t sure whether she should return things to their place.

“I don’t really know what to do other than sit on tenterhooks. I think it’s going to get worse,” said Halpenny, who previously lived in Vancouver for about three decades.

There’s no indication when the lava flow might stop or how far it could spread. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey expect the flow to continue until more magma is drained from the system.

Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has been erupting continuously since 1983.

Halpenny said she’s lived through earthquakes before, but this volcanic eruption has been terrifying.

“No matter what earthquake you’re in, once it passes a certain point, it’s so unnerving. There’s nothing to hold on to. You’re just moving, everything around you is moving,” she said.

The area where the eruption is taking place is remote and the community is small, Halpenny said.

She’s reached out to friends who live in the neighbourhoods most affected, offering a place to stay, and she said she’ll continue looking for ways to help.

For now, though, people in the area remain shaken. Workers at her farm don’t want to climb scaffolding or ladders and everyone seems “jangled,” Halpenny said.

“Every time we hear the walls creak or even the dog scratches a flea, everyone gets all jumpy again,” she said.

Related: Kelowna woman caught up in Hawaii false missile alarm

Related: No travel advisory for Canadians after Hawaiian volcano eruption

— By Gemma Karstens-Smith. With files from The Associated Press.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton man apprehended with stolen vehicle after ramming police vehicles

He is charged with dangerous driving, possessing stolen property, assaulting police with a weapon

Summerland driver facing charges of operating a motor vehicle while prohibited

The driver was involved in a two-vehicle collision on Hwy. 97 on Jan. 22

Summerland cancels Wednesday garbage collection

Crews are digging out after yesterday’s heavy snowfall

Summerland council to revisit carriage house bylaw

Public hearing on Jan. 28 will consider amendments to regulations.

Team Kripps finishes in fourth place

Canadian bobsleigh team misses podium in Igls, Austria

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

Forestry and legumes shippers say railways prioritized other commodities

Companies say they lost millions on Port of Vancouver shipments

B.C. company fights court order to allow public access to Nicola Valley lakes

Legal battle between fish and game club, cattle firms takes another twist

LETTER: Seniors home care, day programs expanding, Adrian Dix says

B.C. health minister responds to latest Seniors Advocate report

B.C. woman wins Instagram celebrity’s boob job contest

‘Kirill was here’ held a contest for women to win a boob job and a trip to Miami

Man pulls over to help injured owl, gets hit by SUV

Chase RCMP say owl flew away while they were on scene

Most Read