Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday said the homes were destroyed in three days at Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots in Pahoa, including the Mayor’s own house in Vacationland, Xinhua news agency reported.
Pahoa is a major community in the county with a population of roughly 1,000 people.
“It hurts like hell. What we lost is the most beautiful place on earth. Over 600 homes destroyed by lava rivers in Hawaii. The past few days have got to be one of the saddest in the long life that I’ve experienced,” Kim said.
He pledged that officials at the state and federal levels will work as a team to cope with the disaster, “eliminate all the bureaucracy delays”, and “get it done as soon as possible”.
Hawaii governor David Ige said the state will allocate $12 million to help respond to the eruption, covering expenses ranging from overtime work to food and equipment.
He added that county employees have been working round-the-clock for almost 40 days.
“I don’t think any of us knew it would get to this point,” Ige said. “Obviously things in the last few days have escalated significantly with Fissure 8 continuing to put out a lot of lava. It certainly has escalated the impact and devastation of the area.”
Kilauea volcano has been erupting nearly continuously for about five weeks now.
The volcano is one of the youngest and most active volcanoes in the world. It is a shield-type volcano that makes up the southeastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii.