Great Britain

La Palma volcano news: Canary Islanders told to run as new eruption risks toxic gas bomb

LAVA BLAST

VILLAGERS in La Palma were given just an HOUR to escape after a fresh eruption threatened to destroy more homes and release a toxic gas bomb.

Locals in the town of Todoque were told to grab any valuable they could and escape as the lava continues its slow, deadly ooze towards the sea.

Authorities warned when the lava hits the sea, it will create explosions and clouds of toxic gases as it cools rapidly - causing further damage to the health and homes of locals.

It came after a second earthquake hit the Canary Islands as the eruption of La Cumbre Vieja volcano continues.

The new 3.8 magnitude quake caused yet more lava to spew from the erupting volcano, although the flow is now moving through the island at a slower rate than it previously was.

Shocking video showed swimming pools BOILING as red hot lava from the volcano poured into gardens, while other footage captured the moment a molten wall rolled down the street towards firefighters.

Read our La Palma volcano live blog below for the latest updates...

  • FEARS OF ‘COLLAPSE OF LAND’

    According to the US Geological Service, there are four main dangers linked to the ocean entry of lava.

    This is: “the sudden collapse of new land and adjacent sea cliffs into the ocean, explosions triggered by the collapse, waves of scalding hot water washing onshore, and a steam plume that rains hydrochloric acid and tiny volcanic glass particles downwind from the entry point.”

  • WHY VOLCANO IS SO DEVASTATING FOR LA PALMA'S FARMERS

    Despite the little arable land on La Palma, farming is the island's main source of income. Bananas are the industry's crown jewel; nearly 3,000 hectares (7,413 acres) are planted with banana trees that provide jobs for over 10,000 of the island's 85,000 residents.

    Between 6,000 and 8,000 tons of bananas are shipped weekly from the island to the Spanish mainland and elsewhere in Europe.

    The importance of bananas to La Palma is the reason Alegria is furious Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said Monday that the government would incentivize "volcano tourism" and that the active peak was good for tourism.

    "Can the minister tell me who is this good for? It might be for visitors and for those who own the hotels," Alegria said.

    "I'm 70 years old and have savings that can last me three or four years," he added. "I might die before that, but there are others here who are getting started, and the volcano is taking everything away from them."

  • TOURISM GETS UNLIKELY BOOST FROM PEOPLE RUSHING TO SEE THE LAVA

    Traffic jams have packed the winding narrow roads of La Palma at dusk as curious residents and visitors flock to snap photos of the glowing lava as it swallows everything in its path.

    Jose Antonio Villegas, who owns four vacation rental apartments not far from the eruption site, says people curious about the eruption have been an unexpected silver lining.

    Two groups with bookings canceled their trip this week after hearing about the eruptions, evacuations and roadblocks. The weekend is fully booked already, he said.

    Villegas said that tourism has taken a hit by the travel restrictions that Spain and many other countries imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but also by a forest blaze that in early August damaged the landscape near Los Llanos.

    "Nothing else can go wrong," he said. "What else could beat a pandemic, a wildfire, and a volcano eruption in just over one year?"

  • WEEKS TO COME

    Volcanologists fear the eruption could continue for weeks to come while it is estimated up to 10,000 could be evacuated in the coming days.

    Locals not yet in the ‘danger zone’ have been told to keep windows and doors shut and to turn off water, gas and electricity sources.

    People are also encouraged to keep their phone and a battery operated radio on them at all times and those with animals should follow evacuation guidelines.

    Four villages are the main source of concern – including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane, Canary Islands regional president Angel Victor Torres said on Monday morning.

    Around 500 tourists were rescued from a hotel in the coastal resort of Puerto Naos and offered emergency accommodation in an old barracks in Santa Cruz.

    The British government has issued a warning to holidaymakers planning to travel to and from the luxury holiday destination after the volcano started rumbling and showing signs of activity last week.

  • LAVA FLOW FROM VOLCANO ON LA PALMA MEASURES AN AVERAGE OF SIX METERS HIGH

    So far, the eruption of the volcano has not claimed any victims, but around 5,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes last night. 

    The scene in the area has been described as “devastating” by the president of the island council, Mariano Hernández Zapata.

    Up in the Montaña Rajada mountains, lava flow measured an average of six meters high, and that was moving at a speed of around 300 meters per hour on Monday afternoon.

    This is however much slower than the 700 meters an hour initially estimated when the lava first left the volcano. 

  • DRAMATIC VIDEO SHOWS LAVA SWALLOWING SWIMMING POOLS AND HOMES AS THOUSANDS FLEE

    THOUSANDS have been forced to flee as lava from the erupted volcano on the Spanish isle of La Palma continues to spew out.

    Streams of hot molten rock from the La Cumbre Vieja volcano swallowed swimming pools and homes in hellish scenes as it tore through El Paso.

    Shocking video footage shows a river of orange-topped volcanic rock mercilessly surging through homes and pools as it makes its way towards the Atlantic Ocean.

  • THOUSANDS OF TREMORS

    A 3.8 magnitude quake was recorded before the eruption as vibrations from the seismic activity were felt on the surface.

    Last week Spain’s National Geographic Institute said it detected 4,222 tremors in what scientists are calling an earthquake swarm around La Palma island since last Saturday.

    Since last Saturday, there have been almost a thousand earthquakes on the islands.

  • THE WARNING SIGNS

    La Palma has a population of 85,000 and is one of eight islands in Spain’s Canary Islands.

    Last week Spain’s National Geographic Institute said it detected 4,222 tremors in what scientists are calling an earthquake swarm around La Palma island since last Saturday.

    An earthquake swarm is a cluster of quakes in one area during a short period and can indicate an approaching eruption.

    Since last Saturday, there have been almost a thousand earthquakes on the islands.

    On Tuesday, the Canary Island’s regional government put the island on a yellow alert for eruption.

    The last eruption on the Canary Islands occurred underwater off the coast of El Hierro island in 2011 and that lasted five months.

  • EXPLAINED: WHERE IS LA PALMA?

    The island forms part of the Canary Islands of Spain, which are located off the northwestern coast of Africa.

    It falls under the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and has a large volcanic caldera about 6 miles in diameter that was established as a national park.

    The island is a tourist hotspot for Brit holidaymakers who flock to its beaches every summer.

    The average time for a direct flight from London to La Palma is just under four-and-a-half hours and they regularly leave from the capital every day.

    La Palma’s economy revolves around irrigation-based farming and bananas, tomatoes, and tobacco along with embroidery are its biggest exports.

  • RUN FOR LIFE (CONTINUED)

    Firefighters say they are powerless to stop it and can only hope that as few properties as possible will be swallowed up.

    A church, blocks of flats, a school, and a series of modern villas with pools are set to be submerged in lava in just a few hours.

    “The reality that we are witnessing every day as we perform our functions as firefighters on the island of La Palma is harsh and it is difficult for us to assume the impossibility of stopping what nature executes slowly,” a Consortium spokesman said.

    “We will continue working in such a situation with churned stomachs, hoping that the damage will be as minor as possible.”

    Technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan, Miguel Ángel Morcuende said it was unclear whether the lava will hit the sea later today or tomorrow.

    It will be slowed down by “obstacles in its way” – one of these being Todoque.

  • RUN FOR LIFE!

    FAMILIES were given just one hour to escape the red-hot lava gushing from La Palma’s volcanic eruption before it engulfs everything in its path.

    Terrified locals grabbed what they could before the magma devastates the town of Todoque as it makes its way towards the Atlantic Ocean.

    The huge wall of lava is aiming straight at Todoque, in the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane, and is moving at a speed of 120 metres per hour.

    All 1,200 residents of the quiet town have been ordered to leave their homes immediately because of the imminent danger to life and property.

  • WHY DID THE VOLCANO ERUPT AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?

    A series of small tremors began to take place on September 11 in southwestern La Palma, which lead scientists to believe there could be magma pushing under the surface of the earth.

    It is hard to say for certain how long the eruption will last.

    Historical precedent and volcanic activity in the area suggest it could last several weeks, and perhaps even months.

  • THE LAVA IS NOT EXPECTED TO REACH THE SEA BEFORE TOMORROW

    The lava's advance has slowed to about 120 meters (400 feet) an hour, according to the head of the Canary Island Volcanic Emergency Plan, Miguel Angel Morcuende, and wasn't expected to reach the Atlantic Ocean before Wednesday.

    Canary Islands government chief Angel Victor Torres said "when (the lava) reaches the sea, it will be a critical moment."

    The meeting of the lava, whose temperature exceeds 1,000 degrees Celsius (more than 1,800 F), with a body of water could cause explosions and produce clouds of toxic gas. Torres asked locals to remember the island's last eruption in 1971, when one person died after inhaling the gas emitted as lava met the water.

    A change in the wind direction blew the ashes from the volcano across a vast area on the western side of the island, with the black particles blanketing everything. Volcanic ash is an irritant for the eyes and lungs.

  • SPAIN’S KING AND QUEEN ‘TO VISIT ISLAND’ ON THURSDAY

    Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia are due to visit the affected area on Thursday, according to a report.

    Royal sources told the AS newspaper that the monarchs will meet local governmental authorities, residents and emergency services affected by the eruption.

    The leader of Spain’s conservative Popular Party, Pablo Casado, will visit on Wednesday.

    Prime minister Pedro Sanchez visited the site of the eruption on Monday.

  • “THIS IS A CATASTROPHE.”

    One of the houses that was destroyed by the lava flow was that of Alberto, a man in his forties who lives in El Paraíso.

    He had nervously awaited news of his property last night, saying: “yesterday I was unsure, but today they confirmed that the lava has swallowed up my house.

    “This is a catastrophe.”

    Among the 5,000 people were Gerhard Beck and his wife. They ended up at a military camp after a night of being constantly moved from one place to another.

    “We don’t know what happened to our house, but we fear the worst… We are going to a hotel for two days now. They have treated us well, but we’ve been very scared, really scared”, he explained.

    They were evacuated from their homes yesterday, and along with 300 other people spent the night at the El Fuerte barracks on the outskirts of the island capital.

  • THE WARNING SIGNS

    La Palma has a population of 85,000 and is one of eight islands in Spain’s Canary Islands.

    Last week Spain’s National Geographic Institute said it detected 4,222 tremors in what scientists are calling an earthquake swarm around La Palma island since last Saturday.

    An earthquake swarm is a cluster of quakes in one area during a short period and can indicate an approaching eruption.

    Since last Saturday, there have been almost a thousand earthquakes on the islands.

    On Tuesday, the Canary Island’s regional government put the island on a yellow alert for eruption.

    The last eruption on the Canary Islands occurred underwater off the coast of El Hierro island in 2011 and that lasted five months.

  • MINISTER OF SCIENCE SAYS IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO WAIT THREE WEEKS TO KNOW EVOLUTION OF VOLCANO

    The minister of science and innovation, Diana Morant said : “There is still no scientific answer on how long the eruption of La Palma will last”

    Although, after analysing the lava and gases, she said: “we speak of a period between one and three weeks”. 

  • MORE EARTHQUAKES MAKE AREA EVEN MORE UNSTABLE

    Several small earthquakes shook the island of La Palma in the Atlantic Ocean off northwest Africa on Tuesday, keeping nerves on edge after a volcanic eruption on Sunday. The island, with a population of 85,000, is part of the Canary Islands archipelago, a key tourist destination for Europeans.

    Authorities said the new fissure demonstrated that the area was unstable and unsafe, and kept people at least 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) away.

    The rivers of lava, up to six meters (nearly 20 feet) high, rolled down hillsides, burning and crushing everything in their path, as they gradually closed in on the island's more densely populated coast. One was bearing down on Todoque, where more than 1,000 people live, and where emergency services were preparing evacuations.

    So far, the eruption has destroyed around 190 houses and forced the evacuation of 6,000 people.

    "The truth is that it's a tragedy to see people losing their properties," said municipal worker Fernando Diaz in the town of El Paso.

  • WHY DID THE VOLCANO ERUPT AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?

    A series of small tremors began to take place on September 11 in southwestern La Palma, which lead scientists to believe there could be magma pushing under the surface of the earth.

    It is hard to say for certain how long the eruption will last.

    Historical precedent and volcanic activity in the area suggest it could last several weeks, and perhaps even months.

  • FEARS OF ‘COLLAPSE OF LAND’

    According to the US Geological Service, there are four main dangers linked to the ocean entry of lava.

    This is: “the sudden collapse of new land and adjacent sea cliffs into the ocean, explosions triggered by the collapse, waves of scalding hot water washing onshore, and a steam plume that rains hydrochloric acid and tiny volcanic glass particles downwind from the entry point.”

  • RESIDENTS ON THE ISLAND EXPRESS SHOCK

    Residents on the island have expressed shock at the sudden eruption.

    Isabel Fuentes told broadcaster TVE: “When the volcano erupted today, I was scared. For journalists it is something spectacular, for us it is a tragedy. I think the lava has reached some relatives’ houses,.”

    Monica, a teacher on the island, told the newspaper El País: “It’s exciting.

    “But at the same time it’s worrying, because there are many houses threatened by lava.”

  • REASSURING TOURISTS ALREADY ON LA PALMA

    Speaking on Monday morning, Reyes Maroto said the government wanted to reassure tourists already on La Palma, or ones who are heading there, that the island was still safe despite the eruption.

    Reyes said: “The most important thing right now is reassuring tourists who have been affected, and also those who may be travelling to the island today or during the course of the week.

    “We’re providing information so that tourists can travel to the island and witness something undoubtedly unprecedented for themselves. That information will let tourists know that the island is open and also whether their hotel has been affected so they can stay elsewhere and enjoy their holidays.

    “We can also make the most of this as an attraction so that a lot of tourists who want to enjoy what nature has brought to La Palma can do so in the coming weeks and months.”

  • ‘MANY PEOPLE ARE LOSING EVERYTHING THEY HAVE’

    Local, Rayco Leal, described the situation, saying: “We heard a roar that at first we thought was another earthquake, but then we saw a column of smoke right and realised there was a high chance that the lava would descend into the house”.

    Francisco Machí, is calculating the time he had left to leave his home, saying: “At the speed of the lava flow, I will have to leave my house in a day or two. This is a catastrophe because many people are losing everything they have”.

    “I am very afraid, I never thought that I would be evacuated from my house,” says Luz María, a resident of El Paraíso.

  • DRAMATIC VIDEO SHOWS LAVA SWALLOWING SWIMMING POOLS AND HOMES AS THOUSANDS FLEE

    THOUSANDS have been forced to flee as lava from the erupted volcano on the Spanish isle of La Palma continues to spew out.

    Streams of hot molten rock from the La Cumbre Vieja volcano swallowed swimming pools and homes in hellish scenes as it tore through El Paso.

    Shocking video footage shows a river of orange-topped volcanic rock mercilessly surging through homes and pools as it makes its way towards the Atlantic Ocean.

  • GOVERNMENT SAYS AROUND 6,000 PEOPLE HAVE HAD TO FLEE THEIR HOMES

    Gvernment spokeswoman Isabel Rodrguez said after a Cabinet meeting in Madrid that around 6,000 people on La Palma have been evacuated so far.

    Further to this, 183 houses have been damaged following Sunday’s volcanic eruption.

    Meanwhile, in the neighbourhood of Todoque in La Palma, lava has continued bearing down. More than 1,000 people live in this neighbourhood, and it’s said that emergency services are preparing evacuations.

    The lava is gradually closing in on the more densely populated coastline after moving downhill across the island’s countryside.

    However, scientists have warned that the lava flows could last for weeks or months.

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