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Evacuations ordered after Hawaii volcano erupts

The eruption comes after days of earthquakes.

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has erupted, releasing red lava into a residential neighbourhood and prompting mandatory evacuation orders for nearby homes.

Hawaii County said steam and lava poured out of a crack in Leilani Estates, which is near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island.

The eruption comes after days of earthquakes rattled the area’s Puna district.

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Dozens of earthquakes have rattled Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano in recent days (US Gelological Survey/AP)

Earlier in the week, the crater floor of the Puu Oo vent collapsed, causing magma to push more than 10 miles downslope towards the populated south-east coastline of the island.

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said red lava emerged on Mohala Street. The county has ordered evacuations for homes from Luana Street to Pohohiki Road.

It is not known how many homes are covered by the evacuation order.

A nearby community centre has opened for shelter.

A school was closed due to the ongoing seismic activity and several roads cracked under the strain of the constant temblors.

USGS geologist Janet Babb said the magma crossed under Highway 130, which leads to a popular volcano access point, on Tuesday night.

Hawaii County Civil Defence Agency closed the area to visitors on Tuesday and ordered private tour companies to stop taking people into the region.

Most of Kilauea’s activity has been nonexplosive, but a 1924 eruption spewed ash and 10-ton rocks into the sky, leaving one man dead.

Puu Oo’s 1983 eruption resulted in lava fountains soaring over 1,500 ft high. In the decades since, the lava flow has buried dozens of square miles of land and destroyed many homes.

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