the essential Seven flights were canceled on Friday on the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canaries, due to the large cloud of ash released by the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which has erupted since Sunday. Several neighborhoods in the city of El Paso were also evacuated.
Three departing and four arriving flights, all within Spanish territory, have been canceled, a first since the start of the eruption, Aena said on her website, without giving any indication of the days.
Several neighborhoods evacuated
The Iberia company canceled a flight from Madrid, which was scheduled to arrive at 19 h 10 local. The other six canceled flights are regional, connecting La Palma to other islands of this very touristy archipelago located off the northwest coast of the African continent. They should have been insured by the companies Binter, Canarayfly and Air Europa.
Violent explosions and this large cloud of ash emanating from the Cumbre Vieja volcano also led the authorities to order the evacuation of several neighborhoods in the city of El Paso on Friday. “Given the increased risk for the population due to the current eruptive episode”, the authorities of the archipelago indicated having “issued a compulsory evacuation order for (the districts of) Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and the non-evacuated part of Tacande de Arriba “. Authorities did not say how many people were affected. A video broadcast by the Civil Guard showed a garden completely covered by “between 30 and 40 centimeters” volcanic ash.
Two new eruptive mouths opened
Two new eruptive vents, from which lava flows were emerging, also opened at 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 390 buildings and covered 180, 1 hectare – or 40 more buildings in two days – 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 markedly and authorities are no longer able to predict if and when they might 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.
The eruption of Cumbre Vieja left no injuries or fatalities, but had already resulted in the evacuation of around 6100 people, including 400 tourists, before these new evacuations. In addition, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, visiting the island since Thursday, announced that the Spanish government would declare the island of La Palma “area affected by a natural disaster” next Tuesday in the Council of Ministers. This measure will unblock the granting of aid to residents.