Lava flows, steam, earthquakes, and spews of toxic gas have forced the evacuation of thousands of residents of Hawaii's Big Island after the eruption of the Kilauea shield volcano destroyed at least 26 homes in Hawaii County.

The eruption began Thursday, May 3 at the Leilani Estates on the Island of Hawai'i's east coast. Since then, images have emerged showing devastation of homes and property, as well as the toll on citizens who've had to evacuate.

According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, new vents opened over the weekend.

CNBC reports that some residents were allowed to return to their homes in order to gather necessary medications and other supplies, but that no children were allowed back in those areas. According to that report, lava had spread to nearly 400,000 square feet of the area surrounding the most active fissure. Lava flow has been slow, but officials believe more is coming.


City and county officials are working with the Salvation Army to assist those displaced by the eruption.



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