May 14, 2018
Hawaii Fil-Am representative addresses constituents’ needs and concerns amid continued volcanic activity
HILO, HI — Two new fissues have opened up over the weekend in Hawaii’s Big Island, spewing magma as high as 100 feet in the air.
Authorities are warning about the possibility of an “explosive eruption,” prompting more evacuations.
A total of 17 fissures have been identified. 36 structures have been damaged in this district represented by a Filipina American state legislator.
Fil-Am District 4 Hawaii House Representative Joy San Buenaventura has been hard at work for her constituents that live in the affected region facing a time of uncertainty.
“Their life is kind of put on pause, they don’t know if they should quit their jobs or whether or not they can move back home and keep their jobs. They don’t know whether or not if they have to quit school because they can’t get to school if the lava keeps cutting them off, or the lava will end, which is what happened 2014 and they can move back home.
While Leilani Estates gets most of the impact, San Buenaventura is concerned that continued activity may impact the livelihood of a large Filipino farming community.
“If it crosses this way, which is what they’re expecting because the riff zone goes this way and if it goes towards Kapoho village which is the most eastern portion of the state, if it goes that way which is expected then you’ll see the papaya farms over here being decimated.”
With the volcano’s unpredictable nature, and the long-term damage it can do, San Buenaventura has been trying to figure out housing situations for the growing number of displaced residents who may not be able to return home for months.
“Because the lava is still ongoing, it’s like a continuing hurricane and it just stays there. We don’t know how much damage. We don’t know whether or not the state budget can handle it or whether or not the feds will be able to come and help us out. We’re hoping they will.”
While local, state and federal officials continue monitoring the situation, relief efforts continue.
With more evacuations expected, the Assemblywoman says there is one pressing need.
“The cots and the gym are only good as your mental well being will allow you to stay in when you’re used to having 4 walls. At least the tents will allow for some privacy and some semblance of having a home.”
San Buenaventura adds that people outside Hawaii can help the cause by donating money to Catholic Charities or the Salvation Army to help purchase the tents.
President Donald Trump also declared a major disaster in Hawaii on Friday, making it easier to get federal assistance to help out the recovery efforts.