Pahoa Man Re-directs Lava Flow to Save His Home

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Many think lava is an invisible, unstoppable force of nature, but some people in the town of Pahoa have discovered it’s not immovable.

While the flow from Pu’u O’o made its way into the residential village of Pahoa, one man’s home stood in its path. As the lava came closer, he fired up his bulldozer and prepared for a fight to save his property and home;

While this man and a handful of others are making attempts to save their homes, many outsiders are wondering why city isn’t using it’s resources and equipment to plan a larger scale diversion. Another option would be to blow the flow up with explosives, as was done to a flow in 1935. But officials have said that not only could any attempts at diversion make the problem worse, there are also considerable cultural sensitivities at play.

diverting the lava flow in hawaiiDiverting the lava flow — whether by obstructing it, rerouting it or attempting to alter the terrain in its path — is seen as blasphemous to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes who is believed to live in the Halemaumau crater of Kilauea Volcano.

This is a very sacred place,” Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira said in response to one Puna resident’s question about diversion, per footage of the community meeting posted online Sept. 3 by Big Island Video News. “It is important to recognize and respect the culture that was and is still here.”

What do you think should be done about the lava flow in residential areas? 

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