Plumes of smoke and lava flows: A volcanic eruption occurred Sunday on the Spanish island of La Palma, in the tourist archipelago of the Canary Islands, for the first time in 50 years, forcing about 5,000 people to evacuate.
According to an AFP reporter at the site, large plumes of smoke and ash as well as lava flows were seeping from several points at Cumbre Vieja volcano, which has been under close monitoring for a week due to intense seismic activity.
Spectacular images showed jets of lava rising to several tens of metres.
On its Twitter account, the local government of the island (Cabildo) indicated that “the explosion began in the Cabeza de Vaca, in El Paso”, shortly after 3 p.m. (local time), when the maximum alert level was entered.
No human life was affected on Sunday evening, and for the time being, “all the evacuations have taken place, about 5,000 people” in the villages closest to the volcano, confirmed the head of the Canary Islands region, Angel. Victor Torres, at a press conference.
The lava hit several houses and cut off several roads.
The head of the region stressed the “luck” that this volcanic eruption took place “in a depopulated area” in La Palma.
This island, which is one of the seven islands in the archipelago, located off the coast of northwest Africa, has a population of about 85,000.
According to the estimates of the La Palma government, lava flows from the volcano in the center of the island, flowing towards the sea in the southwest of the island, passing through the areas that are now inhabited. Fire fears.
Pedro Sanchez on site
And Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who was scheduled to travel to New York to attend the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, decided to travel immediately to the island, where he arrived in the evening, to follow up on developments and operations.
According to the Interior Ministry, more than 200 police reinforcements have been mobilized.
The Army’s first unit specialized in managing natural disasters must arrive at the site during the night.
According to the aviation authorities, the island’s airport activity has not been affected at the moment, and a no-fly zone has been imposed.
The last eruption of the volcano in 1971
The Cumbre Vieja volcano has been under close watch for a week, due to the massive rise in seismic activity.
The Canary Islands Volcanic Institute has recorded several thousand low-magnitude earthquakes, as high as four on the Richter scale, since last Saturday.
Millions of cubic meters of magma moved inside the volcano, while the ground rose more than 10 centimeters in the volcano’s area due to the rising magma.
The authorities, who had informed the residents to be ready for several days, had, a few hours before the eruption, proceeded with the evacuation of people with limited mobility in the municipalities closest to the volcano.
The last eruption of a volcano on the island of La Palma occurred 50 years ago, in 1971.
Of volcanic origin, the Spanish archipelago of the Canary Islands experienced its last eruption in 2011 – this time underwater – on the island of El Hierro, which resulted in the evacuation of several hundred people from certain areas of this island.
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