(Big Island Video News) PUNA, Hawaii – Today, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands plans to meet privately with the Maku’u Farmers Association about the possibility of evacuation, should lava from the June 27 flow make its way to within 1,400 feet of the Popoki Target Area within Makuu Farm Lots. Popoki is the site of a former World War II era-training range. There are approximately 46 families residing in Hawaiian Homestead lands that may be impacted by the lava. Currently, the lobe of lava that has the greatest potential to threaten Makuu has stopped advancing downhill and is showing little activity.
Here is the statement issued by DHHL last week on the meeting:
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) is currently undertaking preliminary planning in order to best prepare ourselves and our beneficiaries for the possible impacts the path of the lava flow may have on its community in Maku’u.
As the ebb and flow of the lava varies day-by-day, our plans are still evolving as we get better and more accurate information from on site coordinatorsy. We are working diligently and cooperatively with all responsible Federal, State and County emergency management and Civil Defense professionals to determine the best course of action that is both prudent and efficient for our impacted lessees currently farming and residing in Maku’u.
We are doing our best to accommodate our lessee families which are working and residing in the Makuu Farm lots, however, the department does not currently possess similar sized acreage, ready to be inhabited, in its East Hawaii land inventory.
The Department and the Maku’u Farmers Association estimates that there are approximately 46 families residing in Hawaiian Homestead lands that may be impacted by the lava. The department has been asked by the Maku’u Farmers Association to attend their private meeting on Wednesday, January 28th to share our preliminary plans with them so that they and their families can prepare accordingly. The Association has also asked us to relay to media that this meeting will be closed to the public so that they can have their privacy in discussing their concerns and issues they would like to have addressed.
We want to reiterate and re-assure our lessees and beneficiaries that the decision to evacuate will not be made by the department, but rather the emergency management and Civil Defense professionals who determine that a life and death situation is imminent.
We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding in this matter.Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands media release