Kilauea’s current level of devastation has surpassed its previous worst tally when it wiped out 215 structures in ongoing eruptions starting in 1983.
The recent volcanic blasts are now the United States’ worst since the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens in Washington state, according to volcano specialist Scott Rowland.
Hawaii governor David Ige passed $12 million of funding on Thursday to support Big Island, where spreading lava flows are causing mounting costs.
A burgeoning river of scolding lava swallowed the entire development of Vacationland, Big Island Mayor Harry Kim confirmed yesterday.
Around 160 homes were lost along with 330 houses at Kapoho Beach Lots.
This follows earlier losses at Leilani Estates – all three are situated at the island’s southeastern tip.
Mayor Kim said: ”So if you combine the three of them (Kapoho, Vacationland and Leilani), we’re talking about 600 homes.
”I’m talking about 600 families. Don’t forget the farmers, don’t forget the ranchers, don’t forget all the employees for them.”
Is Kilauea volcano going to ERUPT again? Latest USGS alerts
Kilauea erupted again a few hours ago with a “small explosion” at 2.44am local time (3.44pm BST), said the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
USGS said in its latest status update” “No weather radar observations of plume heights are possible, but satellite data suggest that any plume that might have been generated did not exceed 10,000 feet above sea level.
“Since the small explosion, seismic activity in the summit region has been low.
“Inward slumping of the rim and walls of Halema`uma`u continues in response to ongoing subsidence at the summit.
USGS has set up a live stream of the summit, which currently shows steaming ash clouds and gases rising above the Halemaumau Crater.
Kilauea remains on red alert, meaning an eruption is imminent or is already underway.
Scientists have warned the active volcano is likely to become more explosive as its lava lake lowers, causing steam-driven blasts.
What are the other threats posed by Kilauea?
Other threats include Fissure 8 in the lower East Rift Zone, which is fountaining to heights of 220 ft and channelling into the Pacific Ocean.
As the lava reacts with the seawater it has been producing laze, a toxic blend of hydrochloric acid and tiny glass particles.
Seaside dwellers are being urged to avoid exposure to floating laze clouds as it can cause eye irritation and respiratory problems if ingested.
Volcanic ash is also a concern as it carries life-threatening sulphur dioxide, another factor in respiratory problems.