Spain: volcanic eruption in the Canaries brings La Palma airport to a standstill

“The cleaning operations have started but the situation can change at any time,” said the manager of the airport.

The airport on the Spanish island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, is at a standstill due to the accumulation of ash from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, the company managing Spanish airports (Aena) announced on Saturday, September 25. “The clean-up operations have started but the situation can change at any time”, specified the Aena. Seven flights had to be canceled for the same reason as of Friday.

Violent explosions and a large cloud of ash emanating from Cumbre Vieja, which erupted almost a week ago, also led the authorities to order the evacuation of several neighborhoods in the city of El Paso on Friday. This order concerns 160 people, bringing to more than 6,200 the total number of inhabitants who have had to leave their homes.

Two new eruptive vents, from which lava flows, have also opened at the level of the volcano, said the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute. According to the latest data from Copernicus, the European system of geospatial measurements, lava has so far destroyed 420 buildings and covered 190 hectares on the island whose main economic activity is the cultivation of bananas.

The speed of the lava flows that have devastated part of the island in recent days has slowed significantly and authorities are no longer able to predict if, and when, they could arrive in the Atlantic Ocean. The meeting between lava and the sea is feared because of the emission of toxic gases that it could cause.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro S├ínchez has announced that the Spanish government will declare La Palma “disaster affected area” natural, Tuesday, September 28, in the Council of Ministers. This measure will unblock the granting of aid to residents.

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