Big Island tent city: Hundreds of Hawaiian evacuees are forced to live in makeshift homes after Kilauea devours 600 properties

Saturday, June 9, 2018
By Paul Martin

Evacuees are living in tents and cars in the parking lot outside Red Cross shelter
One family of 15 is living in a makeshift compound – four cars and some tents
Rental homes are either unavailable or too expensive for people to afford
600 homes have been destroyed as of Friday, there are no predictions on when eruptions will stop

9 June 2018

They’re calling it their ‘new normal’.

People who lost almost everything to the Kilauea Volcano are living in a tent city outside a Red Cross shelter in Pahoa. The tents give them a little privacy, and a space to keep what few possessions they still have.

Zelda Kanakaole and her family of 15 are living in four vehicles parked in a row, which are connected by tents. ‘We rented a van because we only had a car,’ she told Hawaii News Now, ‘and we just got an air mattress’.

Two children sleep in the front seat of a car, others sleep where they can find a space. This is how the family has been living since they fled their home a month ago.

Zelda said the family came close to renting a house, but the price was suddenly increased from $1,100 a month to $1,900 a month.

‘Right now it’s so hard because there’s limited houses in the area,’ she said. ‘We need help, at least to a rent control kind of thing’.

As of Friday, 600 homes had been destroyed, and officials from the U.S. Geological Survey said there’s no way to know when the eruption will end or if more lava-spewing vents will open.

In the meantime, people wait to see where they can go.

Officials counted 250 people in the tent city on Thursday morning, noting they counted after many people had had gone to work, so the real number of ‘residents’ is higher.

One official told Hawaii News Now that it is really important to get these people into homes, ‘camping is fun,’ she said, ‘but a little over a month is too long.’

The Rest…HERE

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