Some residents opt not to chance return to Leilani Estates homes

PAHOA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Jane Howard is one of several Leilani Estates residents who was present at a community meeting in Pahoa to discuss next steps for evacuees.

Residents were streaming into the Pahoa community after Big Island officials announced that they could return to retrieve items from their homes on Sunday night. The first day of entry found several residents sitting in traffic for hours, with some being turned around before the entry checkpoint.

To ease the entry process, county officials began issuing placards at the community meeting on Monday night. Residents can put the placards in their cars, using them to prove they live in the area.

Despite the gesture, some residents, like Howard, are unsure if they will return.

"I actually think I'm not going to go back, because I think it's pretty sketchy. I think it's gonna get big," Howard said.

"We had to cross cracks in the pavement and there was steam shooting up, it was really foggy and the vegetation is all dying and its just depressing," Howard said.

"So even though I forgot some things that I really, really want that are important to me — I'm not sure I want to risk it."

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