Hundreds of homes destroyed by Hawaii volcano's latest explosion, officials say

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Lava in Vacationland early Tuesday claimed the second home of Harry Kim, the mayor of the Big Island, Snyder said.

Kirk Rammer, a local resident whose home was destroyed by the lava flows over the weekend, expressed his sadness at the situation.

An explosion rocked Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Tuesday morning, spewing ash almost a mile into the air and sparking an quake that registered 5.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Hawaii County, said: "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". The lava pushed into beach lots in Kapoho, which has about 350 homes and Vacationland, which has about 150.

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Such a tally would put property losses from the current upheaval of Kilauea, which entered its 34th day on Tuesday, on par with 215 structures destroyed by lava during all 35 years of the volcano's last eruption cycle, which began in 1983. The area is primarily home to vacation rentals, but there are a lot of permanent residences there too. No injuries were reported in the area because it was evacuated.

Laze is formed when hot lava impacts with the ocean, which sends hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air.

"Looking at the map right now, Kapoho Bay is now Kapoho Point", says David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who has been helping with the emergency response on the island.

Lava erupts in Leilani Estates during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., June 5, 2018. They didn't expect the lava flow to head their way.

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A similar eruption in 1955 lasted for 88 days.

The 2-square-mile Malama Ki Forest Reserve, located east of the volcano, is home to a young ohia-dominated forest and sub-populations of forest birds such as the Hawaiian honeycreepers, the Hawaii amakihi and apapane, KITV-TV reported Sunday.

Parts of the Big Island were rattled Tuesday, by a magnitude 5.5 natural disaster, the latest in a string of smaller earthquakes that have struck the island since the eruption started on May 4.

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