Missouri Emergency Management official helping with Hawaii volcano relief

HILO, Hawaii – For months, we've watched in awe as scenes from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano flashed on our screens. Mother Nature's paradox: beauty and destruction.

Terry Cassil, chief of operations for Missouri's State Emergency Management, deployed to Hawaii last week to assist with relief efforts.

“I don't think there's any real change here since the middle of May when this thing first started," he said.

Cassil said the volcano has caused as many as 10 3.0 magnitude earthquakes an hour and a 5.0 magnitude quake about every 40 hours. The US Geological Survey's Hawaii Volcano Observatory said the eruption has covered more than 12 square miles with black lava and has added 700 acres of new land to the island. Cassil said the experts he's worked with don't see an end in sight.

"They won't give you any sort of ‘this will stop’ in two days or two weeks or two months. I don't think they know that. When we talk to them it's like, ‘it'll stop when it stops,’" he said.

Cassil was sent to Hawaii under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows states to request help from other states when resources are overtaxed.

"Many of these are voluntary evacuation areas. We make sure those people know what's going on and if there's any air quality changes, we make sure we let them know about that," he said.

It's an experience Cassil said he’s grateful for and one he believes will improve his ability to help Missourians when dealing with disasters.

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