Footage of Hawaiian volcano, Kilauea’s explosive lava rushing through the streets of the tropical holiday island have been going viral. However, despite the incredible scenes, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has ensured there is no current threat to tourists and that holiday makers should proceed with their plans.
Ross Birch, the executive director of the Hawaii Island Visitors and Convention Bureau, told Washington Post that the majority of the tourism areas were still safe to visit.
“Really, almost 90 per cent of the island is unaffected… That immediate area is less than 10 square miles. The island is 4,028 square miles,” Birch said.
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USA Today posted a video with incredible footage from a helicopter of Kilauea’s eruption. The video shows the massive clouds of smoke emerging from the active volcano.
According to the Hawaii Country Civil Defense Agency, the constant flow of lava has destroyed 36 structures, including homes, in its path and now covers 116.5 acres of land.
While some airlines are offering customers waivers to change their flights, the local Kona Airport remains open and fully operating as do hotels in the tourist areas.
The volcano began erupting last Thursday and was followed by an earthquake the next day. Incredible photos capturing lava burning through roads, houses and cars have shocked the world and devastated many locals.
While much of the island has been deemed safe to travel, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has warned the public that “explosive eruptions” could occur in the coming weeks with very little warning.
The dangerous explosions essentially create ballistic projectiles of lava about 2 metres wide and several kilograms in weight that can fly up to 1km in distance. Ash fall and toxic gas emissions have also sparked cause for concerns.
The warnings were issued for the entire island, but only the areas surrounding Halema‘uma‘u and the Kīlauea summit are considered under high risk.
While tourists travelling to Hawaii over the next few weeks are encouraged to track volcano alerts, it is considered safe to travel to and from the island.