The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma has displaced residents of 3 other towns, and forced firefighting teams to retreat after a new crater erupted.
The emergency services in the Canary Islands had asked residents to stay in their homes to avoid thick clouds of ash and lava, but later decided to evacuate them after the intensification of volcanic eruptions.
And the Canary Volcanoes Institute warned that a cloud of toxic gases and ash could extend for more than 4 km.
For their part, meteorologists confirmed that the cloud began to move towards the northeast of the Mediterranean and the regions of the Spanish mainland.
On Friday, state broadcaster RTVE reported that another crater at the volcano opened Friday and began spewing lava, prompting officials to evacuate 1,000 residents from the villages of Tachoya and Takandi.
So far, 6 thousand people have been evacuated since the eruption of the volcano on an island with a population of about 83,000 people.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said today, Saturday, that the Spanish government plans to classify the island as a disaster area and draw up a comprehensive reconstruction plan.
Next Tuesday, the Council of Ministers is scheduled to approve the classification of the island as a disaster area, in addition to providing extensive aid and developing a reconstruction plan.
“The situation on the island requires exceptional measures,” Sanchez said.
The volcano in the “Combre Vieja” Natural Park has been releasing ash, rock fragments and lava with a temperature of about 1,000 degrees Celsius since last Sunday.
Banana plantations, roads and power lines were also destroyed, although there were no reports of injuries so far.
The lava destroyed about 400 buildings on its way as it flowed towards the sea. One house miraculously survived as the lava flow split on its sides.
The canary-style house belongs to a retired couple from Denmark, according to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
The last eruption of La Palma occurred in October 1971, when the Tiguya volcano spewed lava for more than 3 weeks after a fault appeared in the south of the island.
It is noteworthy that “La Palma” is not a popular tourist destination, unlike the famous islands such as Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Tenerife.