A woman living in the Canaries has been saving abandoned animals as people flee the erupting volcano on La Palma.

Alison Jones has also been putting up people who have seen their homes buried under burning lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, and elderly couples refusing to be separated from their pets.

And now her family at home in Swansea have launched an appeal to help bring emergency aid to those struggling in the disaster which has seen hundreds of homes buried beneath molten lava and forced at least 5,500 people to evacuate.

The 57-year-old, originally from Bishopston on Gower, moved out to the island 16 years ago where she has been teaching English and running a retreat.

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She said: "The eruption caught everyone by surprise.

"We felt some relatively small tremors on the weekend, and on Saturday we started getting messages from neighbours discussing evacuation.

"The message was to stay calm and hopefully nothing major was gong to happen, but then the next day we felt some very strong tremors.

"At the coast there was little damage, and we hoped it would just go away, but on Sunday morning there was another message about evacuating and things got a bit scary."

Alison Jones and one of the rescued dogs at her home on La Palma

She added: "People were being told to get just the basics together, passports, documents, mobile phones and charges. At 3pm there was a big bang, but we didn't feel it so much as we are behind a mountain.

"But we could see a big plume of smoke which looked very dramatic. I went out to look for guests who were staying here, and I came across a woman with her cat.

"We found out people are being sent to the other side of the island, but many did not want to leave their dogs and cats. There have been people sleeping in cars.

"One woman has put four dogs in an empty swimming pool to keep them safe, but she has to make sure they don't get covered in ash.

"We found a basketball court and have been running around trying to find animals, who have been running off, and I've put up a fence around an enclosure to keep the animals we have safe".

Alison Jones with evacuee Miguel, and some of the dogs she has rescued

Army barracks on one side of the island are being used to to put up people who have had to abandoned their homes, but they are not allowed to take their animals with them.

Some refuse to leave their animals, prompting some to camp out in their cars with their pets.

The thick layers of volcanic ash falling on the island are dangerous to breathe and animals have been left terrified by the unfolding circumstance.

Ms Jones, who used to run art classes on Gower before she relocated, has currently rescued seven dogs and four cats who are staying at her property, but also eight other people, some guests who had been staying there, but others who have lost their homes, and tourists caught up in the situation.

She has also joined volunteers helping in local rescue point, which has so far rescued and found safe homes for 85 dogs, as well as sheep and goats.

They continue to scour the surrounding area for more animals and desperate people.

Now her family in Swansea have launched a fundraising campaign to help continue with the animal rescue and their care, as well people who have lost their homes and need food, clothes and baby equipment.

Alison Jones added: "Everyone is being as calm as possible, and they trying to stay positive.

"And it is overwhelming watching people trying to help each other, but it is a worrying time".

To support evacuated people, their animals and their livestock, and to find safe temporary accommodation you can make donations here.

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