Hundreds of homes destroyed by volcano lava in Hawaii

LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of homes have been destroyed by lava from the Kilauea volcano overnight in the Big Island of Hawaii, local authorities said Tuesday.

Officials have not released the total number of homes destroyed by lava, but the assessment that “hundreds” more have been claimed by lava comes just a day after the official figure was put at 159, local news outlet Hawaii News Now reported.

“We don’t have an estimate yet, but safe to say that hundreds of homes were lost in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland last night,” Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County, was quoted as saying by Hawaii News Now.

A residence belonging to Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim was among the hundreds of homes covered by lava last night. There were no reports of deaths or injuries in the area because it has already been evacuated.

Vigorous eruption of lava continued from the lower East Rift Zone fissure system in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens. Fissure 8 continued to feed a channel transporting lava to the northeast along Highway 132 and east to the ocean entry in Kapoho Bay. A morning overflight confirmed that lava completely filled Kapoho Bay, extending 0.7 miles from the former coastline, according to the report of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Tuesday.

The agency warned that additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava in the area of the active fissures are possible. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawaii County Civil Defense messages and warnings.

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit the summit of Kilauea volcano Tuesday morning but does not pose a tsunami threat to Hawaii, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Kilauea volcano has been erupting nearly continuously over several weeks. The volcano is one of the youngest and most active volcanoes in the world. It is a shield-type volcano that makes up the southeastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii.