This is all happening about 3 miles from the house where I grew up, and where my stepfather and my sister and her husband still live.

They’re not in the same subdivision as all the fissures, but they’re right down the road, and the area is the main throughway between where they live and everywhere else, so my sister is having to take prolonged “scenic routes,” partially on dirt roads, to get to work, buy food and gas, etc.

From what I understand, they’re not under mandatory evacuation orders yet, though it’s been strongly recommended. They haven’t left yet, partly because they were having trouble finding all of their indoor/outdoor cats, and partly because they really have no place to go, particularly with the cats. They’re not sure what they’re going to do. I’m really scared for them, and I hate that there’s nothing I can do.

I’m also quickly learning not to read the comments on any articles, which are full of people smugly proclaiming that residents are getting what they deserve for building their “expensive mansions” in an active volcanic zone. People in Puna don’t live in mansions — it’s a high poverty area that often has triple or quadruple the national unemployment rate. The nearest thing most people would qualify as a beach (i.e, a stretch of sand, not just a boat ramp or jagged chunks of lava rock) is hours away. People living in unfinished houses, or even tents on undeveloped lots, is common. But apparently a whole lot of people are under the impression that everyone who lives in Hawaii is a millionaire.