Hawaii emergency declared over volcano

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Hawaii emergency declared over volcano

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AFP

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The volcano’s plume of smoke and ash is visible from a great distance

Mount Kilauea volcano has erupted near a residential area on Hawaii’s largest island, prompting a local state of emergency and the mandatory evacuation of 1,700 local residents.

One witness said lava had burst across a road like a curtain of fire. He said he could smell sulphur and burning trees.

The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation shelter.

The eruption follows a series of strong earthquakes over recent days.

A volcanic crater vent – known as Puu Oo – collapsed earlier this week, sending lava down the mountain’s slopes towards populated areas.

Hawaii’s Governor David Ige says he has activated military reservists from the National Guard to help evacuate thousands of people.

Close-up footage shot by a drone showed lava bursting from a fissure in a wooded residential neighbourhood and oozing down a road.

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