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New Flow Advances Towards The Northern Edge of Pahoa – 12/3/14

Newest Pahoa Flow Moving Northeast

Large scale map courtesy USGS HVO

As of Dec. 2, 2014, the area where the two lines of descent (the blue lines) is approximately 400 yards from the current flow.  At the current rate of advancement, it should reach it sometime today.  So, tomorrow will give a better idea of which direction the flow will take.  It could follow the current line, which would take it toward the Pahoa Marketplace, it could take the more northerly track or split and take both.  On the other hand, as we’ve seen in the past, it could very well take a completely unexpected path or stop, like the original flow.

The original flow, shown in pink above, advanced at an average rate closer to 100 yards or less daily.

This video is from the Dec 1, 2014 update and has some great video shots, as well as good information on what’s happened.

The community of Pahoa and its surrounding subdivisions has been threatened by advancing lava since June 2014.  To date, as far as I know, only one residential property has been completely lost to the lava.  A few other properties have been affected with the lava entering and covering part of their property, but otherwise, damage has been minimal to this point.  Of course, there was ranch/cattle land covered along the way, as well.

The Civil Defense, Hawaii Volcano Observatory, Hawaii County, the state of Hawaii, and the utility companies have all made great efforts to keep the public aware of on-going activity while trying to maintain as much of the utilities and road access available to the residents of Pahoa.  The Federal government and FEMA has been somewhat slow to provide much assistance.  Lava, and its unique properties, is not something national emergency procedures address well.

I’m sure FEMA would act quicker had the entire community of Pahoa disappeared under a massive advance of lava, but the fact that this is a slowly developing situation and with unknown properties affected, they seem to be at a loss as to what to do.  Even President Obama, who likes to claim Hawaii as his birthplace, was slow to declare a State of Emergency which provides access to federal aid to affected families and small business owners.

The problem with not only federal aid, but with homeowners’ insurance, is that they don’t kick in until and unless your residence or business has been destroyed.  They do not consider you’re leaving or evacuating in advance of the lava, as their problem.  In fact, homeowners’ insurance goes so far as to punish those who evacuate by declaring your home as vacant, therefore limited in coverage if covered at all.  The other problem that the state is looking into is the cancellation or non-renewal of policies on properties in the affected areas by insurance companies.


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