70 Hawai‘i National Guard Troops Activated to Support Volcano Response

May 4, 2018, 1:55 PM HST · Updated May 4, 2:02 PM
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About 70 Soldiers and Airmen of the Hawaiʻi National Guard are on Hawaiʻi Island assisting in emergency management efforts, after being activated by Governor David Ige to support Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense.

An eruption commenced in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano. White, hot vapor and blue fume emanated from an area of cracking in the eastern part of the subdivision. Spatter began erupting shortly before 5 p.m. HST on Thursday, May 3, 2018. Lava was confirmed at the surface in the eastern end of the subdivision, in the areas of Mohala and Leilani Streets. According to the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense update at 5:40 p.m. on 5.3.18, all residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivsions are required to evacuate. PC: USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

National Guard personnel are assisting with evacuations of residents, security of the neighborhoods and the monitoring of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas.

The Guardsmen will be in full uniform and using military tactical vehicles as they patrol and assist with evacuation and security in Puna.

Residents may see also National Guard checkpoints assisting the Hawaiʻi Police Department, or vehicles on patrol in specific neighborhoods.

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Because there have been reports during previous events of civilians wearing camouflage and impersonating military members to gain access to evacuated homes, the Hawaiʻi National Guard is reminding the public that Soldiers and Airmen will be in military vehicles and carrying their military IDs. If there is a question at any time whether or not a person is with the Hawaiʻi National Guard, authorities advise to look for their vehicle and ask to see their military ID.

The 93rd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, a 22-person National Guard unit that specializes in Chemical, Biological response and detection, will be assisting Hawaiʻi Civil Defense. The 93rd sent six personnel to Hawaiʻi Island in response to the sulfur dioxide near the fissures.

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