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

Langley rider looks for hometown advantage if she makes World Cup

It won’t be known until Friday if Langley’s L.J. Tidball qualifies for the Longines FEI competition.

Mayoral candidates still scarce in Langley

Only three people are officially in the running – two in the City, one in the Township.

BREAKING: Mother charged in murder of little Aaliyah Rosa in Langley

The mother is in B.C. Provincial Court this afternoon. IHIT won’t release details of how child died.

Fraser Valley Express doubles weekend and holiday bus service

Four new round trips to be added, starting Sept. 4

Singer becoming fixture at tbird’s world-class shows

A self-proclaimed cowgirl knows she’ll never ride at tbird, but is excited to perform there.

VIDEO: Mustang Roundup in Langley attracts car lovers from all over

A car show dedicated entirely to one model of Ford drew admirers and collectors to George Preston Recreation Centre.

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

Local libraries offer interactive digital novel

Inanimate Alice uses virtual reality systems

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

More bus trips coming to Metro Vancouver this fall

TransLink touts improvements when fall service changes take effect Sept. 34

Bear kills off-leash dog in North Vancouver park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Langley lawyer elected president of Aldergrove Rotary Club

Expanding involvement with youth literacy, poverty, Starfish Backpack Program and other activities

Most Read