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Recovery Stories


Kīlauea Eruption Risk Assessment

Study completed by Pacific Disaster Center.
Post Date:09/18/2019 7:30 AM

A report completed by Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), a Maui-based applied research center, analyzes the risks of communities living on two of Hawai‘i Island’s most active volcanoes. The report was intended to give both county government and residents a clearer understanding of risks relative to volcanic hazards to better inform decision-making moving forward.

PDC conducted the Kīlauea Eruption Risk Assessment (KERA) at the request of Hawai‘i County following the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. The study was completed with in-kind services, at no cost to the county. 

The document identifies both volcanic multi-hazard exposure and vulnerabilities – such as access to transportation, socioeconomic status, and household composition – for residents in or around lava zones 1 and 2 on Kīlauea and Mauna Loa.

These factors were then combined to determine the risk in communities defined by U.S. Census blocks and tracts. The top three multi-hazard risk areas were identified as:

  1. Census Tract 212.02: Ka‘u.
  2. Census Tract 211.01: Kalapana-Kapoho
  3. Census Tract 211.06: Pāhoa-Hawaiian Beaches/Shores

The KERA is one of several analyses being considered in development of the forthcoming Kīlauea Recovery Strategic Plan, anticipated by end of year. As part of the planning effort, Tetra Tech, the county’s recovery planning consultant, is taking the PDC analysis to a finer scale when possible based on the latest data available. Their analysis will be folded into the plan and will allow for a more precise understanding of hazard exposure and the associated risk.

The plan will also include strategies to mitigate hazard risk, reduce vulnerabilities, build complete communities, provide affordable housing, advance economic recovery, and address community needs.Additional findings and opportunities for community input to guide recovery strategies will be presented by the recovery team at the SpeakOut event on Oct. 5 at the Pāhoa High and Intermediate School cafeteria. 

About PDC

For more than 20 years, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has supported the most demanding government customers and nonprofits worldwide, sharing in the mission to save lives and reduce disaster risk. As an applied research center managed by the University of Hawaii, PDC is continuously developing new technologies and best practices to help its many global partners effectively mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. 

For more information about PDC, visit pdc.org.

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