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Kīlauea Eruption Recovery

Welcome to the County of Hawaiʻi 2018 Kīlauea Eruption Recovery webpage. Please bookmark this page and use the following links to navigate to page sections. A stand-alone recovery website is under construction for 2019 launch.

Contact: After reviewing site content, if you still have additional questions, please refer to the following:

  • Email: for more information or to sign up for recovery email updates
  • Call: Hawaiʻi County Research & Development at (808) 961-8366.


Recovery Overview

2018 Kīlauea Eruption

The 2018 Kīlauea Eruption was an unprecedented 100+ day eruption disaster that occurred on the Island of Hawaiʻi between April and September 2018, and has been paused since August 5, 2018. Learn more about the eruption.

Kīlauea Eruption lava fountain.Photo: County of Hawaiʻi Fire Department, May 22, 2018

NEW: Recovery Milestones

As follows are recovery milestones to date along with future anticipated milestones. Recovery priorities and an interim expenditure plan are also outlined in the Kīlauea Eruption: Recovery Fact Sheet. The County will continue to adapt its interim expenditure plan to address near term priorities and implement long-term plans, while continuing to seek new funding opportunities.

2018-19 Milestones

Spring 2018
  • Eruption begins
  • Immediate County, neighbor to neighbor, and HI-DARRT response to emergency and shelter need
  • Presidential Major Disaster Declaration
  • Mayor assigns recovery team
Summer 2018
  • Eruption ceases at Fissure 8
  • Federal/State recovery funding sought
  • Governor provides $12M for disaster relief
  • Unemployment/employment benefits
  • Shelters close
Fall 2018
  • 6-month wait begins to ensure safety and confirm eruption end
  • Kūkulu Hou housing fair
  • HI-DARRT and community partners continue outreach and health, human service, and housing support
Winter 2018-19
  • Governor provides $10M for relief and planning
  • Public call for road access
  • Hwy 137/Issac Hale reopening ceremony
  • Eruption recovery email messaging launch
  • Pāhoa Aquatic Center reopening
  • Eruption recovery webpage launch
  • Community, County, and PGV collaborate to restore road access
Spring 2019
  • 6-month wait ends given no eruptive activity
  • Puna business recovery workshops
  • $60M State Legislature appropriation:$20M subsidy for relief, recovery, mitigation, and remediation assistance and $40M loan intended to match federal infrastructure grants
  • Consultants for volcanic risk mitigation, economic recovery, and recovery plan on board

2019-20 Anticipated Milestones

Spring 2019
  • Kīlauea Eruption Risk Assessment (KERA)
  • FEMA Case Management grant delivery
  • County recovery framework bill to Council
  • Recovery full website launch
Summer 2019
  • Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) - possible funding application opens
Fall 2019
  • CDBG-DR submittal
  • County recovery framework bill approved by Council
  • Hwy 132 temporary access
Winter 2019
  • Integrated recovery framework includes: economic recovery, volcanic mitigation, and CDBG-DR action plans
  • Ongoing implementation
  • Continue to seek funding sources
View the Kīlauea Eruption: Recovery Fact Sheet

Recovery Events

Below are recovery-related events presented by community partners. Click on the event link for time and location details or to register. 

Email kilauearecovery@hawaiicountygov to submit a recovery-related event.

Road Access


The County is making progress toward reopening Highway 132, which was inundated by lava during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. The near-term goal is to reestablish access over a temporary road to homes and farms in the kipuka (land isolated by recent lava flows) along Highway 132, including connections to Government Beach Road and Lighthouse Road at Four Corners. 

Photo: County of Hawaiʻi Fire Department, June 17, 2018

Both temporary and permanent routes are being evaluated, with guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and State regulatory agencies to ensure the County meets all necessary permitting and reimbursement requirements.The Department of Public Works (DPW) is working to complete temporary road construction before October 5, 2019 to qualify for 100% FHWA reimbursement.

Work In Progress & Complete - Updated June 7, 2019

  • In Progress: Receipt of survey work data for roadway designs and cost estimates.
  • In Progress: Aligning time-frames and requirements with FEMA and FHWA.
  • Required: Property owners responses to the previously sent right of entry letters; for properties abutting Highway 132 and Pohoiki Road that may require limited entry on their property for road construction.
  • Complete: Field work for Light Detection and Ranging (Drone) photogrammetry survey of the lava inundated roads.
  • Complete: Permitting requirements for temporary road construction, including the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Categorial Exclusion (CatEx) permit, Special Management Area (SMA) permit, and a grading permit which will be reviewed by DPW and State Historic Preservation Division.

Estimated Schedule (Subject to Change)

  • Summer 2019: Consultants complete an alternative study comparing and recommending permanent alternatives for Highway 132 as part of the federally-mandated NEPA process.
  • June-September 2019: Receipt of survey work data for road construction design completion.
  • June-October 2019: Construction of Highway 132 temporary road beginning June 10, 2019.

Kīlauea Eruption Risk Assessment (KERA)


The County received a $225K FEMA Hazard Mitigation grant, requiring a $75K local match, with two deliverables:

  • Update the volcanic risk/vulnerability assessment in the County Multi-hazard Mitigation Plan and
  • Develop volcanic risk mitigation actions.

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC)

The Pacific Disaster Center offered to provide the updated risk assessment as part of its normal programming, at no cost to the County.

The risk assessment is one of several inputs that will inform long-term (5-10+ years) recovery planning by helping decision makers understand hazard risks via data-based analysis.

Image via PDC: Volcanic Multi-hazard Risk Equation

  • A hazard is defined as any agent that can cause harm or damage to humans, property, or the environment. Volcanic hazards include: lava flows, eruptive fissures, cinder cones, pit craters, graben and caldera faults, volcanic gas, and earthquakes.
  • A risk is defined as the probability that exposure to a hazard will lead to a negative consequence. Drivers of risk vulnerability include: household composition, housing and transportation, access to information, socioeconomic status, and access to lifelines.
  • Vulnerability is the extent to which a person, household, community, or other social entity is likely to face negative outcomes from the exposure to environmental hazards and extreme events. Vulnerability factors can include socioeconomic status, access to information, and household composition.

KERA Latest - Updated March 19, 2019

County representatives are currently working with PDC to ensure that relevant data points are captured in the assessment to assure accuracy. Upon completion, the Risk Assessment results will be posted to this site.

Recovery Definition

Disaster recovery is the fourth phase of FEMA’s disaster framework, which also includes preparation/mitigation, response, and assistance. FEMA uses six Recovery Support Functions (RSFs) to organize recovery: the Community Planning and Capacity Building RSF informs the other five: Health & Social Services, Housing, Infrastructure, Natural & Cultural Resources, and Economic.

FEMA Recovery Support Functions: Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Health Services, Housing, Economic.FEMA Recovery Support Functions (RSFs)

Disaster recovery takes place after an emergency and is characterized by actions taken to return to normalcy, secure financial assistance to pay for repairs, and restore individual and collective well-being. During recovery, it is also important to identify and implement actions to prepare for and lessen (mitigate) the effects of future disasters.

Disaster recovery consists of both short- and long-term actions prioritized by need and feasibility, including regard for safety of citizens and first responders. Recovery is a long-term, iterative process – meaning that recovery takes place in multiple phases with each phase informing activities in subsequent phases.

The County Eruption Recovery Planning Process overlayed over the FEMA National Disaster Recovery Framework.Composite: National Disaster Recovery Framework + County Eruption Recovery Planning Process

View the Kīlauea Eruption Recovery Planning Process & Timeline to learn more about near-term recovery phases and opportunities for input through 2020.

Though coordinated by local government, recovery requires a foundation of shared understanding and collaboration between many stakeholders - or partners with a stake in recovery outcomes - including but not limited to: federal, state, and county government, individual residents and communities, and businesses, organizations and coalitions.

County of Hawaiʻi Recovery Team

Kua O Ka Lā students participate in Isaac Hale reopening blessing.Photo: Isaac Hale Beach Park Blessing, West Hawaiʻi Today

In the early stages of the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption, the County of Hawaiʻi launched its recovery program with support from State and Federal partners. Mayor Harry Kim asked the Department of Research & Development to lead the program and many other agencies are actively involved, including:

Aging, Civil Defense, County Council, Corporation Counsel, Housing, Mayor’s Office, Parks & Recreation, Police, Planning, Public Works, and Water Supply. In addition, FEMA designated a Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator and Governor Ige also established a State Disaster Recovery Coordinator.

  • Recovery “success stories” include: finding housing for impacted residents, reopening Leilani Estates, launching the Kūkulu Hou Housing Fair, and reopening Isaac Hale Beach Park and the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center.


Resident Resources: How to Get Help


FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose stated mission is: “Helping people before, during, and after disasters.” FEMA engaged immediately following the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration on May 11, 2018, and continues to support the recovery process via resources at the State and Federal level. FEMA assistance programs can provide both Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA).

NOTE: The registration period for FEMA Individual Assistance from the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption closed September 18, 2018. Visit to follow up on an existing claim.

UPDATE: If your dwelling has recently become accessible via PGV’s Pioneer Road, please notify FEMA at (800)621-3362 to issue an inspection.

NEW: Hawaiʻi Property Insurance Association (HPIA)

Hawaiʻi Property Insurance Association (HPIA) was established post-Hurricane Iniki to stabilize Hawaii’s insurance market and serve as insurer of last resort for primary residences. The program does not include second homes or commercial properties. Because underwriting policies under HPIA tend to be less stringent, policies are not as generous as some, with coverage capped at $350,000.

The program is governed by State Law HRS 431-21, which authorizes a pause in underwriting for up to 6 months, as was the case in certain areas during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. In January 2019, HPIA again began offering policies in all Lava Zones, including 1 and 2.

The program is not publicly subsidized. Island Insurance is the current HPIA Plan Administrator.

Visit the Hawaiʻi Property Insurance Association website


HI-DARRT (Hawaiʻi Island Disaster Response and Recovery Team) is a permanent coalition of relief agencies that helps connect individuals and families with available and needed services. HI-DARRT engaged during the eruption response phase and continues to play an active and essential role in recovering from the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption.

Request help from HI-DARRT

Legal Aid Society of Hawaiʻi

The Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i, a public interest, non-profit law firm dedicated to achieving fairness and justice through legal advocacy, outreach, and education, is offering disaster relief legal aid for the following issues relating to the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption and Earthquakes:

  • Insurance questions
  • FEMA claims
  • Landlord-Tenant issues
  • Consumer issues

Fill out an online form or call 1-800-499-4302 to see if you qualify for services from the Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i


The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency with a mission “to maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters”. 

The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses, renters, and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters. Loans can be used to cover:

  • Physical damage: includes repairs and replacement of physical assets damaged in a declared disaster
  • Economic injury: includes small business operating expenses after a declared disaster.
  • Additional purposes: includes real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory, active military duty

NOTE: March 14, 2019 was the deadline to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans as a result of the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption. Visit the Disaster Loan Assistance portal to check on an existing SBA application or loan.


Agricultural Resources

Farm Service Agency, USDA

The USDA Farm Service Agency offers the following programs

  • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP): Provides financial assistance to producers from low yields or crop losses due to natural disaster. Must already be in the program.
  • Emergency Conservation Program (ECP): Provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disaster.
  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm Raised Fish Program (ELAP): Provides assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm raised fish losses due to natural disaster. ELAP covers losses that are not covered under other disaster assistance programs.
  • Tree Assistance Program (TAP): Provides financial assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, brushes and vines lost by natural disaster.
  • Emergency Loan Program: Provides emergency loans to help eligible producers recover from production and physical losses due to natural disasters. Inquire also about our micro loans and operating loans.

For more information, contact:

The Kohala Center

The Kohala Center, with support from the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture and the County of Hawaiʻi, created the Hawaiʻi Food Producers Fund to provide 0% interest loans to Hawaiʻi food producers. Their goals are to increase the amount of capital available to local food producers and stimulate local food production.

Apply for the Hawaiʻi Food Producers Fund

Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture

Disaster-related emergency low-interest agricultural loans are available until June 2019 for farmers suffering damage due to volcanic activity. The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Loan Division will process loan applications based on past farm production, projected cash flow and disaster recovery plans.

For additional information on the disaster loan program and microloan opportunities, visit the Agricultural Loan Division website or call Gareth Mendonsa at (808) 933-9977


Community Resources: How to Get Involved

Community Talk Story

To develop a deeper understanding of eruption impacts, outstanding needs, and recovery priorities moving forward, the County is organizing small group talk story sessions.

Community Planning

The Puna Community Development Plan (CDP) Action Committee is advising the County during the recovery planning process. That process started with the talk story sessions, but will also include community meetings, surveys, and other ways to get involved.


Paradise Helicopters donates $10K to Hawaii Community Foundation’s Hawaiʻi Island Volcano Recovery Fund.Photo: Paradise Helicopters Donation, Hawaii Community Foundation

Support recovery from the impacts of the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption by donating to the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Hawaiʻi Island Volcano Recovery Fund.

The fund will provide grants to local organizations who are bringing relief to impacted communities, including assistance to residents who have been displaced from their homes.

Make a Donation


2018 Kīlauea Eruption

Eruption Timeline

The 2018 Kīlauea eruption began between April 30, 2018 and May 4, 2018 with a series of earthquakes, the Puʻu Oʻo Crater collapse at the Kīlauea volcano summit, the movement of magma downrift toward the Lower East Rift Zone, followed by cracks opening on Mohala St. in the Leilani Estates subdivision of the Puna District.

Fisure 8 Active Lava flowKīlauea Eruption Fissure 8, County of Hawaiʻi Fire Department

  • On May 4th, 2018, lava broke through the surface in Leilani Estates, resulting in a 100-foot lava fountain spewing from the initial fissure.
  • Over subsequent months, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Observatory (HVO) reported a total of 24 known fissures, 60,000 earthquakes, and an eruption equivalent to 8 years of Kīlauea’s magma supply in just over 3 months.
  • Given the volume of lava and associated hazards such as SO2, ash, tephra, and laze, Island of Hawaiʻi residents were severely impacted.
  • Entire neighborhoods, such as Kapoho, schools, such as Kua O Ka Lā, and beach parks, such as Ahalanui Warm Ponds, were destroyed by Fissure 8, soon to be renamed by the state Board of Geographic Names.

HVO reduced Kīlauea’s alert level from watch to advisory on Friday, October 5, 2018 after the passing of 30 days without seeing lava on the surface. There have been no active lava flows since August, though lava was seen inside fissure 8 in Leilani Estates as of Sept. 5, 2018.

View the USGS overview of events April 17 to October 5, 2018


Aerial views of land before and after the flow. 700+ Homes destroyed, 8,000+ acres inundated, $100M+ economic impact.Verified impacts from the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption include:


  • 13.7 sq mi / 35.5 sq km / 8,488 acres inundated with lava
  • 875 acres new land created along shoreline
  • Kīlauea summit collapse
  • Erupted a volume of 1 cubic kilometer of lava; two thirds from Fissure 8


  • 716 structures destroyed, including approx. 200 primary residences
  • 3,000 residents displaced
  • Estimated $236.5M in damages to roads, waterlines and facilities (e.g. parks)


  • Small businesses decreased revenues and closures
  • $27.9M farm losses resulting in decreased agriculture and floriculture production
  • Decreased tourism revenue and adjustments to marketing and products
  • Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park 4-month closure, source of $222M/year economic influence

Civil Defense

Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense is a County agency that directs and coordinates the development and administration of the County’s total emergency preparedness and response program to ensure prompt and effective action when natural or man-caused disaster threatens or occurs anywhere in the County of Hawaiʻi.


Kīlauea is an active shield volcano and the youngest of five volcanoes that comprise the Island of Hawaiʻi.

  • Kīlauea’s magma-plumbing system extends to the surface from more than 60 km into the earth. Located along the southern shore of the island, Kīlauea is between 300,000 and 600,000 years old, and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago.
  • Native Hawaiians honor Kīlauea as the home of Pele, the volcano goddess. Hawaiian chants and oral traditions tell of many eruptions initiated by Pele before the first European missionary saw the summit in 1823.
  • Since 1952, there have been 34 eruptions, and since January 1983, eruptive activity has been continuous along the East Rift Zone.

Beginning in May 2018, the lava lake that previously existed inside Halema’uma’u crater disappeared and lava flows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater ceased - signaling the beginning of the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption and active surface flows in the Lower East Rift Zone. The crater size roughly doubled as a result of the most recent eruption.