CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Maunalaha Road residents, including Sally Moses, stood in shock yesterday as a wall of volcanic mud slid down, partially buried her home and cut the road in half. Her family evacuated the home early in the afternoon.
Maunalaha residents flee as mud covers road
About 30 Maunalaha Road residents evacuated their homes yesterday after heavy rain brought an avalanche of mud down a 200-foot slope into their properties.
The landslide created a crevice 20 feet wide from Round Top Drive down into Maunalaha Valley where residents have watched smaller slides carry taro, banana and other plants down the hill in the past two weeks. Mud and black sand covered the narrow asphalt road more than 3 feet deep, cutting off vehicle traffic.
A smaller slide packed mud up against the side of the home of Clarence and Sally Moses, partially burying two parked cars. The area is downhill from the site of recurring landslides that block Round Top Drive.
"My house is solid for now, but if this keeps up, I'm going to lose my house," said Sally Moses. "With the amount of material coming down, it's not safe to stay."
"Welcome to Grand Canyon of the Pacific," said her daughter Pua Craft as she stepped over rivulets of water that continued to cascade down the new ravine hours after the rain stopped. She and her siblings carried garbage bags full of clothing and other possessions out of Maunalaha Valley on foot.
"We're not coming back until it is safe and secure," said Leinaala Lopes, 68, as she rode out of the valley in a pickup truck with her six great-grandchildren in back.
Her husband, Wilfred, 69, is an earlier victim of the flooding. She said he is hospitalized with leptospirosis diagnosed after he worked last week to clear debris from Maunalaha Stream below their house.
Lopes said she is the sixth generation of her family to live in Maunalaha Valley, and "I have never seen anything like this. No one has ever talked about something like this happening before."
Fifteen people live in the family's home, which was one of three cut off by the landslide.
"We've been trying to get help up here for two weeks," said Moses, whose family of nine would stay with relatives.
Her neighbors from upslope, Michael and Nancy Sylva and their three young children, moved out earlier.
A crew from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Earth Tech Inc. engineering consultant firm visited the site late yesterday afternoon, listened to residents and declined to speak to reporters. Earlier, a Honolulu Fire Department crew came into the valley and advised residents to evacuate, Moses said.