The Christmas day announcement comes after 10 days of quiet at Cumbre Vieja volcano. Almost 100 days after the volcano spewed lava and ash across the island, Spain declares La Palma eruption officially over.
Scientists declared a month-long volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma officially over. The announcement on Saturday comes nearly 100 days after the Cumbre Vieja volcano upended the lives of thousands.
During the eruption, lava flowed down towards the sea destroyed thousands of buildings, entombed banana plantations, cut off roads and forced many to evacuate.
La Palma eruption officially over
After bursting into action on September 19, the volcano went quiet on December 13th. However, the authorities on La Palma did not give the all-clear until Christmas Day. This officially declared La Palma’s longest eruption on record over.
“What I want to say today can be said with just four words: The eruption is over,” Canary Islands regional security chief Julio Perez told a news conference on Saturday.
Maria Jose Blanco, director of the National Geographic Institute on the Canaries, said all indicators suggested the eruption had run out of energy but she did not rule out a future reactivation.
Destruction of homes and livelihoods
About 3,000 properties in total were destroyed by lava that now covers 1,219 hectares (3,012 acres). That is equivalent to roughly 1,500 football pitches.
Of the 7,000 people evacuated, most have returned home. But many houses that remain standing are uninhabitable due to ash damage. With many roads blocked, some plantations are also now only accessible by sea.
Now a huge clean-up operation is underway. The government has pledged more than €400million for reconstruction.
Rebuilding La Palma
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the eruption’s end “the best Christmas present”.
“We will continue working together, all institutions, to relaunch the marvellous island of La Palma and repair the damage,” he tweeted.
But Perez said there was no sense of “joy or satisfaction” following the announcement, only a feeling of “emotional relief and hope”.
“Because now, we can apply ourselves and focus completely on the reconstruction work,” he said, adding the archipelago’s government valued the loss of buildings and infrastructure on La Palma at more than €900million.