SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA – With the opening of a tenth volcanic mouth from which lava flows that threaten about a thousand homes on its way to the sea, hundreds more people have to leave their homes.
After four earthquakes were recorded by the National Geographic Institute between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, two of which were felt by the population, a new crater has formed near Tacande in the municipality of El Paso. This is about 900 metres from the main vent. Contrary to forecasts, other lava flows have not yet reached the coast as the speed has dropped from 700 metres to 300 metres per hour.
Those two-story rivers of lava have evacuated a total of 6,000 people and completely destroyed 166 homes, with 1,000 more threatened on their way to the coast. It has also destroyed 300 agricultural and other exploitations. Moreover, sulfur dioxide emissions are increasing every moment. Therefore, the moment when the lava reaches the sea is worrisome. There are fears of explosions and the emission of harmful gases.
The professional body of geologists has confirmed in a statement that it is impossible to predict how long the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano will last. This started on Sunday afternoon. Furthermore, some experts point out it can even take “between one and three months.”
Emergency decree to help residents
The president of the Canarian government, Ángel Victor Torres, announced on Monday during a press conference that he will help the victims of the volcanic eruption with a new decree-law. “The government is now urgently preparing a bill that will allow us to requalify the land on which the homes that have been damaged or destroyed so that they can be built immediately and expeditiously,” Torres said.
Spain and Brussels promise help
Prime Minister Sánchez has already announced that he will assist all victims on La Palma. The same message came from Brussels. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union has reached out to Spain and offered the aid needed to repair the damage caused by the volcanic eruption. On Twitter, she expressed her condolences “to all people in the Canary Islands” for the damage caused by this natural disaster.
Chaos on La Palma roads
On the main road of La Palma, chaos arose in both directions on Monday evening. Firstly, by people who fled the danger flowing from the craters, amongst others a van filled with sheep. And secondly, by people who wanted to take a closer look at the visual spectacle. It has been 50 years since the last eruption of the Cumbre Vieja.
According to the 20Minutos newspaper, on one side of the road, a panicked woman warned other road users of the danger. Meanwhile on the other side people stopped their cars, got out, and started taking pictures and videos of the volcano and the glowing lava flows.
Authorities point out that residents and tourists should keep the main road clear as much as possible.