Volcano La Palma destroys cement factory and 3,000 people in lockdown

by Lorraine Williamson
cement factory engulfed - https://twitter.com/efadi_LP/status/1447820292341084165
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SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA – The lava flow from the volcano on La Palma has partially destroyed a cement factory. And there are more fears that toxic gases have been released. As a result, 3,000 people are not allowed to leave their homes. 

The volcanic eruption that has been going on for weeks is not losing its strength. Due to the increased fluidity of the lava flows, 595 hectares have already been destroyed. This includes at least 753 buildings engulfed and 3,500 people evacuated. In addition, earthquakes still occur, according to the National Geographic Institute. In the early hours of Tuesday, the institute observed 23 seismic movements. 

Since the north face of the Cumbre Vieja volcanic cone collapsed last Saturday, the volcano’s eruptive strength activity has increased. More lava flows out, which is also more liquid than before. 

Cement factory engulfed

According to the report published Tuesday by the government’s Department of National Security (DSN), the most active lava flow is further north. One of its branches goes 300 metres out to sea. Whereas, the other caused the combustion of hydrocarbons while engulfing a cement factory yesterday. As a result, around 3,500 people in El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane have had to remain home. 

In addition, access from the village of Tazacorte to the evacuated areas was prohibited until the evolution of the volcanic emergency north of Mount Todoque has been studied. 

Lava flow towards industrial estate 

According to the 112 emergency centre of the Canary Islands, the lockdown will be maintained until a new assessment this Tuesday because of the advance of a lava flow towards the industrial estate Callejón de la Gata, which could potentially release harmful substances again. Until then, residents must stay indoors, keep their windows closed, and turn off the air conditioning. According to the DSN report, all lava flows do pass through the areas already evacuated. 

Along with the sulfur dioxide cloud, there is a significant amount of volcanic ash moving eastwards due to high winds, although the dioxide levels are below the risk threshold. 

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The airports in the Canary Islands are operational, although several airlines cancel their flights to La Palma. 

18 earthquakes on Tuesday 

The National Geographic Institute (IGN) has located 23 seismic movements on La Palma early Tuesday morning, the largest of which has reached the strength of 4.1 degrees. This earthquake occurred at 2.31 am in the municipality of Fuencaliente at a depth of 13 kilometres. 

The last earthquake on Tuesday morning occurred at 6.06 am in Mazo, at a depth of 12 kilometres and of magnitude 3. Of the 18 seismic movements on Tuesday, 11 occurred in Fuencaliente, 5 in Mazo, and 2 in Tazacorte, and 8 quakes had a power of 3 or higher. 

La Palma reconstruction

On Monday, a committee composed of various government administrations met to coordinate the reconstruction plan for La Palma. The latest breakdown of the damage is as follows: 591 hectares covered with lava, 1,520 metres maximum width of the flow, 753 buildings destroyed (620 of which are residential), and 150 hectares cultivated under the magma. 

Fourth visit by President Sanchez 

The president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, has planned a new visit to La Palma for Wednesday. It will be his fourth visit. Sánchez will present new measures to support the sectors affected by the eruption on the island. It concerns an amount of €206 million that has been approved by the Council of Ministers. 

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