Single mother, teacher becomes one of dozens who lost home in lava outbreak


We talked to one of many homeowners whose home was destroyed in Leilani Estates. 

Amber Makuakane has two children, Alana who is 6-years-old and Aaron who is just 4-years-old. She’s a single mother who lost her husband about two years ago, but has been working hard to support her kids as a teacher at Pahoa Elementary School.

On Thursday, Makuakane tells us as she was grabbing what she could to evacuate and she had a feeling that this may be the last time she’ll see her home again. 

Makuakane lived on Makamae St., just three streets down from the very first lava outbreak. 

“I started grabbing trash bags and just started throwing clothes inside of the trash bags,” Makuakane said. “At some point, I was pacing back and forth in the house not knowing what to grab, what I should take and at the same time trying to process what is happening. Also trying to find a place within me like this may be the last time I ever walk through my house.”

Early Saturday morning she received a call from her alarm company notifying her that sensors in her home picked up something.  

“I was trying to be positive and think okay maybe somebody is hungry. Maybe somebody is stuck in there they are just trying to get into my house. Maybe they need clothes or something,” she said. “Later on a friend sent me an aerial view from a helicopter and that was my final confirmation.”

Her beautiful house, which her children called home since the day they were born, is now completely covered with lava. 

“My son keeps asking me, ‘Mommy can we go home,'” Makuakane said with tears in her eyes. “Right now, I’m in the process of looking for a place for me and my kids that can be somewhat stable and just provide them consistency.”

Makuakane says the only way she’s getting through this devastation is by drawing strength from her faith and the people around her.

“I just put all my faith and trust in God and I know that He has a greater plan for me and my family, and I know there is a reason for everything that happens,” said Makuakane, “and not to leave out my family and friends, I have an extremely amazing support system because without them I honestly would not be the woman I am today.”

Makuakane’s parents also live in Leilani Estates and had to evacuate as well.

If you would like to help Makuakane and her family, click here.

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