SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA – The Cumbre Vieja volcano is not giving La Palma a sense of tranquility. Residents have watched since the first eruption on Sunday sent lava flowing relentlessly down the mountain. Explosions from the various craters continue to unnerve.
On the southwestern flank of the volcano, fire, ash and lava flows from a new opening. Now, the ash cloud emitted by the volcano has forced airlines to cancel their flights for this Friday, sources reported in the 20Minutos newspaper.
For six days the volcano has spewed fire and large amounts of lava. The explosive phases are increasing; and the lava tongues have already destroyed about 240 hectares of land in a circumference of almost 16 kilometres, according to the authorities. There are currently two active lava flows. According to the report on Friday morning, the column of gases or plumes emanating from the volcano reaches 4,500 meters high.
The airline Binter has cancelled all flights between the other Canary Islands and ‘la isla bonita’. It is not clear when flights can resume. Binter also says it will respond to requests for flight changes or refunds through the usual channels. Iberia and Canaryfly have also reported the cancellation of their flights to and from La Palma through their social networks.
In response to the cancelled flights, the shipping company Fred Olsen Express increased the number of sea connections with the island of La Palma to meet the transport demand during the emergency on the island.
Reconstruction plan for disaster area
On Friday, the Spanish Prime Minister announced a reconstruction plan with rapid and long-term measures for the island; the Council of Ministers will declare it a disaster area next Tuesday. The government of the Canary Islands announced the purchase of 280 homes. The victims whose homes have been engulfed by the lava are being accommodated in hotels and health centres. The laval also destroyed 390 buildings and 14 kilometres of roads.
Firefighters withdrew from Todoque, where the lava is slowly advancing Friday afternoon, due to the increase in explosions, pyroclasts and ash falling into the area.
On Friday afternoon, Pevolca (Civil Protection Plan against Volcanic Risks) started evacuating residents of the Tajuya, Tacande de Arriba and Tacande de Abajo neighbourhoods. These residents were previously subject to a detention order in their homes, which has now been lifted with the evacuation.