In Maui, a desperate search for the missing; Lahaina warned of ‘toxic’ ash

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The island of Maui is facing a double disaster as two volcanoes, Haleakalā and Kīlauea, continue to erupt and spew lava, ash, and gas. The eruptions have forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes and businesses, and have left many others missing or trapped.

One of the hardest-hit areas is Lahaina, a historic town on the west coast of Maui. Lahaina was engulfed by a fast-moving lava flow from Haleakalā on Monday, destroying hundreds of buildings and cutting off access to the rest of the island. Many residents were unable to escape in time and are feared dead or buried under the rubble.

The Maui County Civil Defense Agency has issued a warning to Lahaina residents who are still in the area to stay indoors and avoid breathing the ash that is falling from the sky. The ash contains high levels of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other toxic gases that can cause respiratory problems, eye irritation, and skin burns. The agency also advised people to wear masks, goggles, and protective clothing if they have to go outside.

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