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Here’s How Much Kilauea Volcano Damage Will Cost Hawaii Residents

Stephanie Asymkos
A lava flow moves on Makamae Street in Leilani Estates at 09:32 am HST on May 6.

As the eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea — which is among the world’s most active volcanoes — continues, so does the devastation.

For a few hours on Tuesday, residents experienced a brief reprieve as the volcanic activity on the Big Island paused. Later that evening, the thirteenth and fourteenth fissures, or vents, opened on the Kilauea volcano. Lava continues to spew into the surrounding community, forcing evacuations.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by BRUCE OMORI/PARADISE HELICOPTERS/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9664416k)Activity continues on Kilauea's east rift zone, as a robust fissure eruption in Leilani Estates sends a massive flow into the subdivision, consuming all in its path, near Pahoa, Hawaii, USA, 06 May 2018.


The development of Leilani Estates in Pahoa and its estimated 1,800 residents continue to bear the brunt of the active volcano. Harry Kim, Mayor of Hawaii County, tweeted the volcano is responsible for the destruction of 104 acres and 35 structures, as of Tuesday evening. The neighborhood’s mandatory resident evacuation began on Saturday, and the Hawaii National Guard has been assisting in emergency management efforts on the ground. In the air is a thick and noxious “vog,” or pollution that is a mix of water vapor, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide gas caused by the Kilauea volcanic emissions.

It’s uncertain whether homeowners insurance will cover the damage caused by the lava and ash. Most people would not have coverage for earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, Hawaii-based Allstate insurance agent Marc Dixon told Hawaii News Now. Affected homeowners will have a better chance of receiving insurance money if they lost their home to a fire instead of lava, as fire damage would typically fall under a standard homeowners insurance policy. At $703 per year, Hawaii residents have the least expensive average annual home insurance cost, according to a GOBankingRates study.

It’s unclear when the volcanic eruptions will end, but the community has a massive recovery effort ahead. To understand how much the recovery and rebuilding efforts will cost, GOBankingRates looked to the past.

Kilauea’s eruption in 1955, nine years before Leilani Estates was formed, destroyed a staggering 3,000 acres, and cost the state of Hawaii $1,878,703 — equivalent to over $17.6 million in 2018 dollars.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Here’s How Much Kilauea Volcano Damage Will Cost Hawaii Residents