Most of the 2,000 residents ordered to evacuate from Hawaii are now allowed to return to their homes following this weekend’s devastating volcanic eruption, with state officials warning they may be forced to flee at a “moment’s notice.”
According to Reuters, residents of the ‘Big Island’ are now permitted to return to the Leilani Estates neighborhood, where dozens of homes were destroyed by molten lava and debilitating ash storms.
The neighborhood sits just 12 miles from the volcano and was forcibly evacuated after officials detected lethal levels of sulfur dioxide gas.
“Please, the residents of Leilani need our help. This is not the time for sightseeing. You can help tremendously by staying out of the area,” said the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.
“It’s been a bit of a chaotic week, a very stressful situation. It’s one of those hopeless, helpless outlooks. It’s hard to explain but the lava is right behind my house and it’s pretty surreal,” one resident told Reuters.
No major injuries have been reported in the immediate fallout of the volcanic eruption and subsequent earthquakes, the worst eruption to strike Hawaii since 1975.