Politics

La Palma’s Volcano: Dramatic Photos Capture Canary Island’s Eruption

Above: Lava flows from an eruption of a volcano at the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.

A volcanic eruption on the Canary Island of La Palma saw more than 5,000 people evacuated on Sunday.

At least 20 houses were destroyed two hours after lava first began to pour out of the volcano at 3pm, leading to the rapid evacuation of four villages.

Hundreds more homes are at risk in the village of Los Llanos de Aridane as the lava spreads.

The president of Canary Islands Victor Torres said most of the evacuees were with family or friends, while the rest were in shelters.

He added: “The lava is moving towards the coast and the damage will be material.”

According to experts there has been about 17-20 million cubic metres of lava leaving the volcano.

The eruption continued late into the night and over into Monday with magma seeping into woods and farmland, as lava shot into the sky with every new eruption.

The eruption was not a complete surprise, as scientists had been watching the volcano – called Cumbre Vieja – over the last week due to increased seismic activity.

Local resident Isabel Fuentes told Spanish broadcaster TVE: “When the volcano erupted today, I was scared.

“For journalists it is something spectacular, for us it is a tragedy.”

She recalled Cumbre Vieja’s previous eruption back in 1971, adding: “I was five years old when the volcano last erupted – you never get over a volcanic eruption.”

It remains unclear how long this particular explosion could last.

According to volcanology doctor Stavros Meletlidis at the Spanish Geographical Institute, the lava has torn five holes in the hillside already.

He said: “We have to measure the lava every day and that will help us to work it out.”

No deaths have yet been reported on the tourist hotspot with a population of approximately 85,000, and according to vulcanologist Nemesio Perez, none are expected.

Lava and smoke flow from an eruption of a volcano at the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. 

A plume of smoke rises following the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja national park at El Paso.

Lava flows from the volcanic eruption towards isolated nearby houses.

Lava flows downhill following the eruption – the volcano’s first eruption in 50 years.

Lava pours out of the volcano through the night as eruptions continue for hours.

Residents watch lava following the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja national park at El Paso.

idafe.com via via REUTERS

Lava flows down the hill after a volcanic eruption in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, September 19.

Lava and smoke rise following the volcanic eruption, which has seen more than 5,000 people evacuated so far.

Anadolu Agency via Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Mount Cumbre Vieja spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary island of La Palma.

DESIREE MARTIN via AFP via Getty Images

Lava flows approach houses after scientists noticed a week of seismic activity from the volcano, Cumbre Vieja. 

Anadolu Agency via Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Mount Cumbre Vieja spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane.

DESIREE MARTIN via AFP via Getty Images

Mount Cumbre Vieja’s column of smoke and ash as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane.


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