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FEMA: So far, 730 register at Disaster Recovery Center

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald The Disaster Recovery Center opened Friday morning at Keaau High School Gymnasium.

The Disaster Recovery Center in Keaau High School gymnasium has seen significant business since opening Friday, with “730 survivors” of the current Kilauea volcano eruption registering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency as of Sunday.

According to Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Mayor Harry Kim, that figure came from FEMA official Willie Nunn during a briefing of emergency workers Monday at Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo.

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“He said that doesn’t count the number of people who went to other agencies only,” Snyder said and added that, according to Nunn, “That number’s way higher than 730.”

Snyder said Nunn noted the DRC “was a dream on Tuesday” and declarations and by Friday “all systems (were) up and running.”

“It’s unprecedented; he’s never seen a Disaster Recovery Center go up that fast and that well,” Snyder said.

Shuttle buses are running between the emergency shelters at Pahoa Community Center and the Keaau Armory and the DRC.

The lease on the gym for the DRC is until Aug. 1, Snyder said.

Today, Tuesday and Wednesday, free medical, dental and eye care will be available at Tropic Care 2018 at Keaau High School. Additional screening days are scheduled during the coming weeks. Tropic Care 2018 is open to the general public.

Snyder said that according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua, fissure No. 8 “is still going strong.”

“The channel is full,” Snyder said. She said the flow is incandescent as it goes to the ocean, with hotter lava farther from the vent than before. She said there is “no significant overflow” of lava from the channel.

Two fissures have reactivated, with fissure No. 6, just west of Pohoiki Road “weakly spattering,” Snyder said, and fissure No. 16 “weakly active.”

According to Snyder, Kauahikaua said scientists are keeping a close eye on fissures No. 9 and 24.

“He said they’re steaming, but no (sulfur dioxide) coming out of them,” she said.

There was a relatively weak summit explosion at 6:13 a.m.

“There was very little ash,” Snyder said, but added that “seismicity has been intense overnight in the Volcano area.” She said that gas emissions containing toxic sulfur dioxide remain strong, both in the lower East Rift Zone, and at Kilauea’s summit.

Snyder said the current winds are “northeasterly transport winds that are going to affect the Naalehu area.”

“Wednesday, the wind’s going to shift south-southeast, bringing emissions Wednesday (and) Thursday north to South Hilo and the Saddle,” she added. “Friday, the trades return.”

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There’s a public meeting on the lava situation at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Pahoa High School cafeteria.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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