Lava has destroyed 600 homes on Hawaii's Big Island, mayor says

HILO, Hawaii (KABC) -- Lava flow from the Kilaeua volcano has destroyed approximately 600 homes on the Big Island, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Thursday.

The latest estimate of property losses came after Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a document that enables financial support from a state disaster relief fund.

People that have private property in the affected areas will still own their land, though it will need to be reassessed once the lava stops flowing.

There are homes still standing in several subdivisions that have been inundated by lava, but many homeowners are unable to get back to those properties because the lava has already cut them off.

The lava, which has covered more than 5,000 acres in this latest eruption that began on May 3, is very thick.

Scientists said that while the height of the lava varies depending on the source and local topography, much of the area is covered in 10 to 20 feet of molten rock.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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