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

Info session offered for those mulling a run for civic office in Kelowna

City will provide info about running and expectations for mayoral and councillor candidates Aug. 23

Falcons swept in WCL final

Kelowna loses 5-1 in game two of the championship to the Corvallis Knights

Kelowna’s Pride Marshal leaves Syria, finds himself in Canada

After a trip around the world, the Syrian has finally found acceptance

Kelowna Rockets ready to evaluate rookies

Rookie camp goes Aug 20, with team’s main training camp set to start Aug. 24

UPDATE: RCMP on scene at Penticton Regional Hospital

Police have closed a section of Government street while they deal with a distraught man

Crews getting a handle on fires near Cherryville

Area restrictions expanded, firefighters equipment stolen

21% of people admit to being addicted to their phone: poll

Smartphone usage surpasses TV time in B.C. homes, a new survey suggests

Tim Hortons says its China expansion will include menu with congee, matcha

Coffee chain plans to open 1,500 stores in Asia over the next decade

How to help B.C. wildfire victims

Donations being taken by many organizations, BC Hydro waiving bills

Whole city of Kimberley on an evacuation alert due to wildfires

Residents woke up Friday morning being told to get ready to leave any moment

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

Photographer files complaint with police after alleged assault on the job

Toronto photographer says he was attacked while covering a protest

Publication ban lifted on details about Fredericton shooting that killed 4

Judge lifts publication ban on court documents related to the Fredericton shooting

Most Read