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Thousands waiting for evacuation, rescue in volcanic eruption-hit Hawaii

Thousands of residents are waiting to be evacuated and rescued from the dangerous lava-affected zones after the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.

Since the volcanic eruption triggered a 6.9-magnitude earthquake on Big Island on May 3, lava has continuously been flowing from over 20 rifts along the volcano.

What’s worse, May 17 and 19, respectively, saw another two massive eruptions, with volcanic ash catapulted upwards of nine kilometers into the air.

Due to the ongoing activity of the volcano, the rifts are becoming increasingly wide and the lava is flowing forth more quickly.

The lava has become a serious threat and irritation to people in the area, due to the great amount of heat that it emits and the loud noises that it makes, according to local residents.

“I am two miles up rift. I hear it 24/7. It’s alternating between the sound of a dragon and being next to air force flight line where you hear the jets. You hear the jets. I can’t believe I’m two miles away and hear it,” said Frankie Stapleton, a local resident.

In the southeastern part of Big Island, one of the most affected areas, there are still more than 2,000 residents stranded in the danger zone.

Local authorities are taking measures to evacuate those trapped people; however, lava damaged one of the major roads leading towards the affected area, which has added another layer of difficulty on the rescue mission.

Workers are trying to open up a lava-buried passage to the danger zone, which has been cordoned off by the police.

Three shelters were set up by the local branch of the Red Cross to accommodate the displaced people and provide them with food, water and clothing.

According to geologists, the volcano will continue erupting for several more days and local people will face even more challenges as the lava reaches the ocean creating, “laze,” a combination of lava and haze.

“The lava reached the ocean at 11:00 last night, so the flow that is going into the ocean is creating sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid. So all the people that are living south of the flow will have that plum, all that gases will be kinda getting close to where they are at and that’s not a good sign,” said Ikaika Marzo, another resident.

As of now, only one person has been reported with injuries to his legs.

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