The island of La Palma has become a ‘catastrophic zone’ for its residents. Many residents watch as rivers of lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano continue to bury dozens of houses on its way out to sea.
The moment when the river of lava, in some places 12 meters high, reaches the sea is awaited with fear and trembling. That will be one of the most critical moments in protecting the population on the island. As the lava, with a temperature of 1,000 degrees, hits the water toxic substances are released.
According to the latest data from authorities on the island, the natural phenomenon has forced more than 6,000 people from their homes. 183 homes in its path were swallowed by the lava flow and 200 infrastructures destroyed.
According to Involcan, the eruption has now entered an explosive phase. In other words, a “strong increase in the amplitude of the volcanic tremor”. This occured during the last hours of Tuesday evening. It is an indicator of the intensity of the strombolian explosive activity (regular small eruptions) in the active mouths at this time.’
Nine eruptive craters have formed so far, although the director of Involcan does not rule out the possibility of new points of lava ejection. In addition, in areas with steeper slopes, the thickness of the lava wall flowing towards the sea, up to 12 meters at some points, can cause large areas of lava to break away from the front of the ‘wall’ and bridge greater distances.
As for the duration of the eruption, the college of geologists said it is “impossible to predict” how long the eruption will last. Although some experts speak of one to three months.
Lava sweeps last village off coast
Meanwhile, the village of Todoque disappears under a thick layer of lava. This is the last built area before the sea on the west side of the island. Resident Pedro Miguel, who managed to evade all checks and still go to his house, saw it swallowed before his eyes by a “sea of fire, as if the devil had come out of the earth,” he said in tears to a reporter from 20minutes.
What to do with people whose homes and even their entire village simply no longer exist? Psychologist Cristina García, coordinator of a team of psychologists on the island, says at the moment people can only “wait and be patient, because we don’t know how long this will take. We have to look at what resources everyone has. The most important thing now is that they can be emotionally discharged and that their basic needs are met”.