According to CNN, the declaration allows federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquake.
The declaration comes after increased volcanic activity and a new flow of lava that began on May 3 from Kilauea volcano on Hawaii Island.
According to ABC News, an 18th fissure, which is a crack in the ground allowing lava to pour out, began spewing magma on Sunday as officials in Hawaii warned of possible violent eruptions.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) also said an explosive eruption is possible at Halemaumau crater at the top of the Kilauea volcano, according to the CNN report.
According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency’s Facebook page, “Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has verified reports of a new fissure, number 18, opening up to the west, or Kalapana side, of Highway 132 on Halekamahina Loop Road in lower Puna. Lava spatter activity and gas emissions are occurring at this time. The newest fissures are on private property, do not trespass.”
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) issued a statement on Saturday directing all vacation rental owners and operators in lower Puna to cease operations so that emergency operations can focus on residents who live in the area.
“Until further notice, visitors who have vacation rental reservations in the restricted area should find alternative accommodations,” according to the HTA. “This directive has been issued to owners and operators of vacation rentals within the restricted area, online advertisers of vacation rentals, current vacation renters in the area and vacation renters with reservations.”
Visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.