San Diegans working with Red Cross in Hawaii

Posted at 11:22 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 02:26:10-04

HAWAII (KGTV) -- As more evacuations loom in Hawaii, San Diegans are working to help those already in shelters on the Big Island. 
On Tuesday the United States Geological Survey issued a red warning - the highest level of alert - as eruptions of ash continue. 

At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent, according to the USGS.

RELATED: 18th fissure opens and lava bombs fly as Kilauea volcano's eruption shows no sign of slowing down

San Diego Red Cross volunteers in Hawaii are helping hundreds of people and animals at the Pahua Community District Part in Hawaii's Puna District. 

Amy Hegy is one of those volunteers. She tells 10News that right now, people are mostly afraid that they have no idea when this situation will end. 

"We are doing our very best to make sure that people are well taken care of and feel comfortable in a very tragic situation," Hegy said. "The mood of people is one of great unknown.”

At Hegy’s shelter 232 people are indoors, along with a number of others sleeping in tents outside the facility — and even setting up in ballpark dugouts. 

Hegy says it's difficult to describe the emotional response of the people at the shelter. Many are families who have lived on the island for generations.

Truly native Hawaiians who believe that the eruptions are the work of the goddess Pele, the goddess who created the Hawaiian Islands. 

They accept that their fate rests in her hands. And with volcanoes, there's not much else they can do. 

"We in San Diego know a wildfire runs through, and then we know the damage, and we know how to move forward and we move into recovery. That is not this," Hegy said. "This is...which way is the wind shifting, will another fissure open up? Is the crater going to there going to be a tsunami?" 

Despite all of this, Hegy says the shelter they're at is as safe as it gets. They're far from the volcanic activity and fissures. 

The Red Cross tells 10News that more San Diego volunteers are on the way to help. They say responding to disasters like these, makes them even more prepared to handle situations in our own community.