What is the first thing that runs through your mind when you hear a volcano is about to erupt in your neighbourhood? Hopefully, if you are a sane person, you think: grab the kids, grab the dogs, we are out of here! But, apparently, other people thought it might be a great opportunity to get an awesome new profile picture instead.
Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has been spewing lava ever since it began erupting on 3 May 2018. More than 1 700 local residents have been evacuated from the volcano's East Rift Zone on the Big Island of Hawaii, where lava from 20 fissure vents has already consumed and obliterated 26 homes. This alone is a pretty good hint that it's not something to be messed with. Alan Richmond, the spokesman for the Hawaii Police Department, told People, “the fissures are deadly, very deadly. We’re currently in a condition red because of the increased ash in the area. We’ve had no injuries, which is the good news,” Richmond said. “Everybody is on standby. It’s a dicey situation and no one knows how long it will last and how it will end, just dealing with Mother Nature.”
Even though the lava is flowing only slightly faster than a turtle can move, the gas it emits, as well as the ash, is extremely dangerous hence the not-so-flattering gas masks people are wearing in their selfies. In order to protect people, the Hawaii Police have set up roadblocks to prevent non-residents from entering nearby neighbourhoods to snap photos.
The Halemaumau crater exploded on Thursday morning at 4:15 a.m., sending an ash plume shooting 30,000 feet into the sky but the East Rift Zone continues to flow hot lava into residential neighbourhoods from up to 20 fissures.
Hawaii's tourism has plummeted to anall–time low as a result and, according to Ross Birch, executive director of the island’s tourism board, tellingTime that cancellations between May and July have already cost them $5 million. Police are cracking down, monitoring dangerous areas to turn people away from taking selfies.
Seriously, selfies have gone way too far this time!