(ABOVE VIDEO) Another round of lava diversion talk at the public meeting in Pahoa Thursday night was put to rest by a fiery set of speeches from the Native Hawaiian community.
Video by David Corrigan
PAHOA, Hawaii – A push by some residents to have the government somehow divert the current lava flow headed towards Puna’s populated areas was publicly rebuked by Native Hawaiians Thursday night.
Hawaii County has organized six evening meetings on the lava threat so far, and nearly every night someone in the audience asks the same question: Why can’t the county try to divert the lava flow, using bombs or building barriers, in order to protect Puna’s subdivisions. Currently, the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision is nearest the flow. Every time the residents ask about diversion, civil defense administrator Darryl Oliveira answers the same: It’s too risky, and there are cultural concerns to consider.
On Tuesday’s meeting, some of those asking about diversion bristled at the idea of letting lava take their homes in consideration of cultural concerns. The story on Big Island Video News (VIDEO: Clamor For Lava Diversion Booed at Pahoa Meeting) generated a lot of interest and intense debate.
On Thursday, once again, some residents began to ask about diversion. This time, however, there were some Native Hawaiian residents in the audience, who went to the podium to explain their point of view on Pele – who they see as the divine force behind the lava.
One of those speakers – Pi’ilani Ka’awaloa, whose family has lived through numerous lava flows over the years in Kalapana – mounted a passionate defense of Pele, receiving the applause of the hundreds in attendance.