Trump issues Hawaii disaster declaration after Kilauea volcano eruption

Hawaii asks Trump to declare state of disaster for volcano eruption

New outbreaks of lava were expected in or around the hard-hit Leilani Estates area in the southeastern Puna district, about 20 miles (32 km) south of Hilo, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory and local authorities said.

Residents of Kona on the west of the island have complained of volcanic smog, or vog, from the large amounts of sulphur dioxide and other pollutants spewing from Kilauea.

Gov. David Ige's request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hawai'i Island was granted, one day after the governor submitted the request.

Federal funding is available to state, eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis, the White House said.

The volcano has been sputtering lava for a week, forcing about 2,000 people to evacuate, destroying two dozen homes and threatening a geothermal plant.

The Volcano Observatory says they can not predict with certainty if or when these steam driven explosions will occur or how large they might be.

However, even if Kilauea does begin an explosive eruption, geologists say it will not be an event like Mount Saint Helens or other major eruptions.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's decision to close Friday due to the risk of an explosive eruption will discourage travelers, said Janet Coney, the office manager at Kilauea Lodge, an inn in Volcano.

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Hawaii's main volcanoes are "shield" volcanoes, which produce lava flows that form gently sloping, shield-like mountains.

Kilauea has destroyed 36 structures - including 26 homes - since May 3, when it began releasing lava from vents about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the summit crater. As of this morning, the USGS says the lava lake level continues to drop and seismic activity is high.

"What will take a turn for the worse in terms of hazard is if hotter, fresher magma makes it to the surface, and that could be what is coming", Neal said on a conference call.

She says that's why the lava has been cool and has been moving a little sluggishly.

As long as people stay away, they will be safe, Johnson said, noting that residents are likely well aware of the potential dangers while tourists may be less so.

The CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the agency that markets Hawaii to the world, said Kilauea is being monitored around the clock to provide the public with the best information.

Over the past week, the Big Island has experienced more than 600 earthquakes - a sign that something is occurring deep beneath the volcano.

Ross Birch, the executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said officials "walk the fine line".

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