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Family displaced by Kilauea eruption seeks shelter in Utah

HILO, Hawaii (News4Utah) - As geologists and emergency officials prepare for potential disaster on the island of Hawaii, one family with Utah ties is trying to get back to the mainland. 

Anna Gilmore, her husband and seven children have lived on Hawaii's Big Island for a few years. They had to pack everything they owned into a truck and move from their rental home because of the dangers associated with lava flow from Kilauea's eruption. They are now at an evacuation shelter on the island. 

"It's intense," Gilmore told News4Utah over the phone Tuesday. "We drove out in the dark last night and there is lava...you can see it in the road."

She described the feeling on the island right now as one of anxiety and awe. 

Geologists said there is the potential for a massive explosion from the volcano any day. Gilmore said emergency crews have blocked many of the entrances into affected neighborhoods, asking residents coming to grab belongings to show identification and proof of residence. 

Back on the mainland, her sister is working to get Gilmore and five of her children back to Utah where they used to live. She has started a GoFundMe page to help with the expenses associated with that, and she said people have stepped up to help. 

"It's really intimidating and frightening when you're not close to the people you love during a disaster," said Laura Cole, Gilmore's sister. "It helps to know that there are a lot of good people all over."

Gilmore's husband and two older children plan to stay behind and continue their move. The family said they had to find new homes on the island for two of their dogs. 

Still, they hope it won't be a permanent goodbye to their beloved island. 

"We love Hawaii, we still want to make it work here," Gilmore said. 

She and her kids will most likely be back in Utah next week, where Gilmore will resume her online studies to become a midwife. Those studies have been put on hold since the volcano began erupting. 

 

 


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