On the Canary island of La Palma, thousands of residents and tourists have been evacuated after a volcano erupted again for the first time in fifty years. The lava flows from seven different sites of the volcano. People in the area were shocked this afternoon with thick, black smoke that occasionally turned red by the hot lava.
Images from the evening show that the lava comes from more than a crater:
The immediate vicinity of the volcano is sparsely populated, for now only a few remote houses have been affected by lava flow. Thousands of residents and 500 tourists have been removed from the area. Spanish media reports that the number of evacuations can reach 10,000.
The tourists stayed in a hotel in the village of Puerto Naos that may be on the path of one of the lava flows. The evacuees were transferred to an old barracks near the capital Santa Cruz de La Palma. TUI travel company informs that around 200 Dutch people are celebrating holidays on the island through them, but they would not be in danger.
The army has been engaged for more evacuations and, as a precaution, the access roads to the area have been closed. About 85,000 people live on La Palma.
The eruption followed an earthquake this morning with a force of 3.8. Then the volcano emit ash and lava, writing Spanish media. The eruption started a little after 3pm, Canarias radio station reported.
This Spanish reporter felt the first shocks:
“At the moment, it‘s all bad, because not many people live. But it is an exciting situation,” says correspondent Rop Zoutberg. In more and more places, lava emerges from the ground and there is a large crack on the volcano slope.
The Spanish aviation authority does not recommend airlines from flying on La Palma, but there is no ban. Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez has postponed a visit to the US in order to reach Pole height on La Palma as soon as possible.
Seismologists kept an eye on the island’s volcano chain, the Cumbre Vieja, for more than a week due to increased activity. More vibrations were measured and magma rose.
“Eruption may take weeks or months”
In 1971, a volcano erupted in the Cumbre Vieja. It is not clear how long the eruption on La Palma can last, said Itahiza Dominguez, chief seismologist of the Spanish geology institute, to a local TV channel. “But previous eruptions in the Canary Islands lasted weeks or sometimes even months.”
The most recent eruption in the Canary Islands occurred underwater in 2011, near the island of El Hierro. That eruption lasted five months.