Thousands of Hawaiians are still living in the ruins of Big Island and are bracing themselves for worse to come
Residents near the erupting Kilauea volcano are now surrounded by toxic vog – volcanic smog filled with sulfur dioxide and other harmful gases, and huge mounds of black hardened lava rock
DailyMail.com visited the 20-acre Johnson Family Farm whose crops have been destroyed by the toxic gas – including an avocado orchard with $100,000 worth of produce in its trees
Holding back tears, owner Greg Johnson, 67, told DailyMail.com: ‘Most of the crops are destroyed, at the very least I will be put back a year. But if the larger trees die I’ll be ruined, there’s no coming back’
Greg’s son Braha, 39, who carries a pump action shotgun, says three suspicious men have been seen sitting in a car watching farms in the area – and fears opportunistic looters will carry out a raid
Kilauea finally erupted from its summit just before dawn on Thursday after erupting for 11 days – spewing ash 30,000 ft into the air
By RYAN PARRY
18 May 2018
The thick white mist sweeps across the slopes of Puna and the air bites at the back of the throat.
Filled with a potent noxious cocktail of sulfur dioxide and other harmful gases, the toxic vog, short for volcanic smog, is highly dangerous to breathe in.
The phenomena – caused when volcanic gases react with oxygen – is just one of the many perils facing residents here at the foot of the erupting Kilauea volcano.
And when DailyMail.com neared the ‘death zone’ our team was warned to wear our $50 professional grade respirator masks at all times.
A weather service broadcast on Thursday predicted vog would sweep across the Puna, Kau and Hilo districts of the Big Island.
But despite widespread evacuations, thousands of Hawaiians living in the shadow of this disaster are still here, dealing with the aftermath.
Many cross police and National Guard checkpoints several times a day to access their homes – many destroyed or left uninhabitable – to collect all their belongings.
Each time they do so they take their lives in their hands.
As well as the vog, there’s the thick volcanic smoke, methane gas explosions, not to mention the tons of bubbling 1,000 degree lava spewing from dozens of fissures that have opened up in suburban areas.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) says Kilauea has 20 open fissures now, with some of them continuously erupting and that lava bombs the size of microwaves were found a few hundred yards from the Halemaumau crater.
Kilauea finally erupted from its summit just before dawn on Thursday after erupting for 11 days – spewing ash 30,000 ft into the air.
But while the exploding bright orange lava and distant booms and cracks of the molten rock river continue to make the headlines, for many the hazardous vog is the hidden killer.
And it’s this toxic cloud that is ripping the heart out of the community.
DailyMail.com visited a farm two miles from the so called ‘death zone’.
The 20-acre Johnson Family Farm is in the path of the molten rock tearing across the countryside, but tragically there’s little left to save.
All of the farm buildings are intact and lava is nowhere to be seen.
But sitting downwind from the volcanic eruptions, this once booming farm has been destroyed by the toxic gas.