FAQ's are updated on a regular basis to ensure accuracy. If you have an unanswered question, please utilize our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
How much damage was caused by the 2018 eruption?
Verified impacts from the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption include:
13.7 sq mi / 35.5 sq km / 8,488 acres inundated with lava
875 acres new land created along shoreline
Kīlauea summit collapse
Erupted a volume of 1 cubic kilometer of lava; two thirds from Fissure 8
716 structures destroyed, including approx. 200 primary residences
3,000 residents displaced
Estimated $236.5M in damages to roads, waterlines and facilities (e.g. parks)
Small businesses decreased revenues and closures
$27.9M farm losses resulting in decreased agriculture and floriculture production
Decreased tourism revenue and adjustments to marketing and products
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park 4-month closure, source of $222M/year economic influence
Infrastructure & Rebuilding
What is a Risk Assessment?
Following the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption, a Risk Assessment was commissioned by the County of Hawaiʻi. The stated outcome of this assessment is to understand hazard risks relative to vulnerability to inform long-term planning and decision-making.
Image via PDC: Volcanic Multi-hazard Risk Equation
A hazardis defined as any agent that can cause harm or damage to humans, property, or the environment. Volcanic hazards include: lava flows, eruptive fissures, cinder cones, pit craters, graben and caldera faults, volcanic gas, and earthquakes.
A riskis defined as the probability that exposure to a hazard will lead to a negative consequence.
Vulnerability is the extent to which a person, household, business, community, or other social entity is likely to face negative outcomes from the exposure to environmental hazards and extreme events.
Vulnerability factors can include housing and transportation, socioeconomic status, access to information and lifelines, and household composition.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) began working to reestablish access over a temporary road to homes and farms in the kipuka (land isolated by recent lava flows) along Highway 132, including connections to Government Beach Road and Lighthouse Road at Four Corners. Construction began on June 10, 2019 and the goal is to complete temporary road construction before October 5, 2019 to qualify for 100% Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) reimbursement. For more detail, visit Road Access.
What is the status of the Kīlauea Eruption Risk Assessment?
The County requested the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) develop a risk assessment for the 2018 Kīlauea eruption to study the what the hazard exposures are and the socio-economic conditions that would contribute to associated risks. A third draft of the Kīlauea Eruption Risk Assessment (KERA) was delivered to the County, and staff are in the process of completing detailed review and analysis.
In parallel, Tetra Tech, the County’s recovery planning consultant is taking the PDC analysis to a finer scale – from Census Block Group (done by PDC) down to the parcel level when possible. This will allow for a much more accurate understanding of hazard exposure and the associated risk.
The risk assessment is not an end in and of itself – it is intended as one of several analyses and inputs that inform recovery planning. As such, the hazard map will inform an understanding of risk associated with alternative development patterns. This risk analysis will help the community make informed decisions about where to make future investments in infrastructure, facilities, and development.
This work will also inform the County’s Recovery Framework, which will include comprehensive strategies to mitigate hazard risk, reduce vulnerabilities, build complete communities, provide affordable housing, advance economic recovery, and otherwise address community needs. That planning process will continue through the end of 2019 with plenty of opportunities for community input.
Will the Pahoa-Kalapana Road beyond Kalapana Gardens be reopened to all traffic?
Given the extensive loss of roadways, it is prudent for decisions relating to road repairs and reopening of roads in the Lower East Rift Zone, including the Pahoa-Kalapana Road, wait while important information is being gathered in a risk assessment and vulnerability analysis, a recovery framework that will offer various scenarios, and policy options for decision-makers. Further guidance is pending constraints for possible federal funding sources beyond FEMA.
What is recovery?
Disaster recovery is the fourth and longest-term phase in the National Disaster Recovery Framework, which also includes preparation/mitigation, response, and assistance.
Disaster recovery consists of both near- and long-term actions prioritized by need and feasibility, including regard for safety of citizens and first responders.
How long does recovery take?
Recovery is a long-term, iterative process - meaning that recovery takes place in multiple phases which each phase informing activities in subsequent phases. Recovery can take anywhere from 5-10 years, depending on the scale and duration of the disaster.
The 2018 Kīlauea Eruption in the Lower East Rift Zone was unprecedented in scale and speed, resulting in extensive displacement of families and businesses, and the disruption of businesses throughout the Island of Hawaiʻi.
Recovery began in June 2018 and will involve continuing efforts to meet immediate and near-term needs, as well as long-term planning and implementation.
Events and impacts of this magnitude result in a "new normal" and present an opportunity to refresh and renew families, communities, and the environment.
How can I help with recovery?
Visit our 'Connect' page for specific ways to support ongoing recovery efforts.
You may also consider making a donation to one of the following funds:
Mayor Harry Kim asked the Department of Research & Development to lead the recovery program, and many other agencies are actively involved, including: Aging, Civil Defense, County Council, Corporation Counsel, Mayor’s Office, Office of Housing & Community Development, Parks & Recreation, Police, Planning, Public Works, and Water Supply. In addition, FEMA designated a Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator and Governor Ige also established a State Disaster Recovery Coordinator.
The recovery team will produce a wide range of inputs to decision makers such as the County Council and Mayor to guide long-term recovery decisions.
How is recovery organized?
Recovery is organized according to the National Disaster Recovery Framework recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Lines of activity are organized in six (6) Recovery Support Functions or RSF's. The Community Planning and Capacity Building RSF - which aims to build the community's capacity to plan and implement recovery actions - informs the other five: Health & Social Services, Housing, Infrastructure, Natural & Cultural Resources, and Economic.
What do I do if I still need recovery assistance?
Although FEMA and SBA financial assistance deadlines have passed, there are still ways to get recovery assistance:
Coming soon: County of Hawaiʻi Disaster Case Management
When does recovery occur?
Disaster recovery takes place after an emergency and is characterized by actions taken to return to normalcy, secure financial assistance to pay for repairs, and restore individual and collective well-being. During recovery, it is also important to identify and implement actions to prepare for and mitigate (lessen) the effects of future disasters.
Who is in charge of recovery?
Recovery is coordinated by local government along with a wide range of community partners such as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) and social service providers. Because recovery affects a broad range of activities and stakeholders - or partners with a stake in recovery outcomes - it requires a foundation of shared understanding and collaboration.
Kīlauea Eruption recovery stakeholders include but are not limited to: Federal, State, and County government, individual residents and communities, and businesses, organizations, and coalitions.
Can I fly a drone over the lava flow field?
Given there is no current emergency proclamation with specific prohibitions, all activities fall under laws and regulations that normally apply.