The Canary island of La Palma is still struggling with the effects of the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano. Lava flows unleashed by the eruption have made their way relentlessly across the island over the past few days, destroying everything in their path. According to the latest figures, 350 houses and 166 hectares covered with lava have already been destroyed. Meanwhile, the volcano is still active, with a cloud of ash and gas reaching a height of 4,500 meters.
It’s been a Sunday since the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted in La Palma. Since then, lava has flowed relentlessly towards the villages and the sea.
According to the latest monitoring data from Copernicus, up to 350 homes were destroyed, along with farms, roads and power lines. Two days ago, on September 21, 320 homes were destroyed. Lava has already buried 166 hectares under the molten rock. This is at least 14 hectares more than 36 hours ago. So far, about 6,100 people have been evacuated from the island. Fortunately there were no deaths or injuries.
Authorities said one of the lava flows stopped Thursday evening. The second, up to 500 meters wide, was delayed. This means that the lava will not reach the ocean on Thursday or Friday. Toxic gases are feared if lava ends up in the ocean.
But, the director of the National Geographic Institute, Maria Jose Blanco, stresses that the slowing of the lava flows does not mean that the eruption is becoming less severe. “The volcano is still active, with a cloud of ash and gas up to 4,500 metres.”
The images from La Palma are stunning and show the devastation caused by lava and ash: the houses are black and seem to be petrified.
50 years ago
The volcano erupted on Sunday after several earthquakes were detected in the previous days. The last eruption of the volcano on the island occurred in 1971, when the Teneguía volcano spewed lava for more than three weeks. Experts estimate that it could take up to three months for the eruption to completely end.
Here’s how aerial footage shows the devastation after the volcanic eruption:
Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia visited Canary Island on Thursday and witnessed the devastation with their own eyes. They encouraged more than 6,000 evacuees and promised them assistance. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who postponed a planned trip to New York, accompanied the royal couple.
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