Eruption in the Canaries: La Palma airport stopped, hundreds of people crowded into the boats

The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, in the Canaries, continues to weigh on the lives of residents. This Saturday, the airport of La Palma, one of the islands of this Spanish archipelago, had to close its doors, due to the accumulation of ash released by the volcano, which has erupted for a week.

“Clean-up operations have started, but the situation can change at any time”, announced the company managing Spanish airports, Aena. As of Friday, seven flights had already had to be canceled for the same reason.

Shipping companies taken by storm

In an attempt to leave the island, hundreds of people are already turning to the La Palma shipping companies, overwhelmed by demand. According to The day, local media, hundreds of people crowded this Saturday on the quay of Santa Cruz.

Faced with the number of passengers, the two shipping companies that link La Palma to Tenerife, the largest island in the archipelago, have been forced to increase the number of ships.

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This Friday, several districts of the city of El Paso, in the center of La Palma, had to be evacuated following violent explosions and a large cloud of ash emanating from the volcano.

“Given the increased risk for the population due to the current eruptive episode”, the archipelago authorities have indicated that they have “issued a compulsory evacuation order for [les quartiers de] Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and the non-evacuated part of Tacande de Arriba “. According to the authorities, This order concerns 160 people, bringing to more than 6,200 the number of people who have had to leave their homes.

More than 400 buildings destroyed, new lava flow

Two new eruptive vents, from which lava flows were emerging, also opened at the level of the volcano, said the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute. The latter reported a third outbreak on Saturday afternoon, west of the main focus. According to the authorities, the new lava flow would be smoother and faster than the previous one, and would descend in a straight line towards the ocean.

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According to the latest data from Copernicus, the European system of geospatial measurements, lava has so far destroyed 420 buildings and covered 190 hectares on the island whose main economic activity is the cultivation of bananas.

Authorities are unable to predict when lava flows may arrive in the Atlantic Ocean. The meeting between lava and the sea is feared because of the emission of toxic gases that it could cause.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced that the Spanish government will declare La Palma “disaster affected area” natural next Tuesday in the Council of Ministers, measure which will unblock the granting of aid to residents.

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