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

Show N’ Shine attracts bumper entries

The 2018 Show N’ Shine attracted over 1100 people and 80 entries – the most in the event’s history

GALLERY: 2018 Wapiti Music Festival

Did we spot you at Wapiti Music Festival over the weekend in Fernie?

No raining on Wapiti’s parade

Fernie music festival huge success despite less than ideal weather conditions

Elk Valley wildfires update

Hot, dry conditions to continue as BC Wildfire Service battles wildfires across the region

Louise Baxter found after 72 hour search

Cranbrook hiker had been missing since Sunday, August 12, near Jumbo Pass.

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

15ha fire burning east of Line Creek Operations

Elkford Fire Rescue this morning released an update about a new fire… Continue reading

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read