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Inspectors to assess damage caused by Maunaloa eruption

Hawaii Volcano maunaloa 120722
US Geological Survey
In this aerial image provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, fissure 3 is seen erupting on the Northeast Rift Zone of Maunaloa on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

A joint team from the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be traveling to Hawaiʻi Island this week.

The team of inspectors are set to evaluate the damages and impacts caused by the recent Maunaloa eruption.

The main lava flow from Maunaloa ended more than a mile away from Daniel K. Inouye Highway, but officials will be assessing the impacts to the Maunaloa Observatory Road and other infrastructure overrun by lava.

"The team will be working in consultation with Hawaiʻi County personnel who managed the incident and had primary responsibility for protecting the people, property and infrastructure of the Big Island during the eruption," said Luke Meyers, an administrator of Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency.

HI-EMA said the assessment will be used to determine whether the costs incurred from the eruption could qualify for federal assistance.

Hawaiʻi County received support from the State through the deployment of Hawaiʻi National Guard personnel to assist with traffic control and security.

The assessment will be presented to Gov. Josh Green for review and to determine whether or not to request a federal disaster declaration. If a declaration is sought and approved, most of the eligible expenses incurred would qualify for federal reimbursement, with local funding reduced to roughly a quarter of the total cost.

Maunaloa's most recent eruption began on Nov. 27 and continued through Dec. 13. It was the first time the volcano erupted in 38 years.

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