A lava flow from a volcanic eruption has stopped on the Canary island of La Palma. The authorities said in a press conference that the second lava flow is moving slowly and certainly will not reach the sea today or tomorrow. The danger has not yet passed.
The gigantic lava flow that is about 600 meters wide has stopped. On Monday, the day after Cumbre Vieja erupted, lava flowed towards the sea at a speed of 700 meters per hour, today only at a speed of four meters per hour. This was said by the head of the National Geographic Institute of the Canary Islands, Maria Jose Blanco, at a press conference today.
According to the institute, the fact that one lava flow has stopped and the other is flowing more slowly toward the sea than was feared does not mean the eruption has become less intense. The volcano is still active, the institute said, with a cloud of ash and gas reaching a height of 4,500 metres.
According to Blanco, although seismic activity at La Palma is now “low”, molten rock is still being emitted from the volcano – about 26 million cubic meters so far.
Experts warn that if the lava reaches the sea, it may lead to explosions and the release of toxic fumes. They also fear that the molten rock will do more damage to the land if it does not reach the sea.
“The lava moves very slowly because it cools, because of friction with the ground and buildings and because it expands in front,” said volcanologist Stavros Mililidis. Canary Radio and Television.
The slower the lava flows, the thicker the lava. The authorities say that in some places the height of the current is up to 15 metres. 350 homes have already been “swallowed”.
Thousands of residents were evacuated after the volcanic eruption. As far as we know, there have been no casualties, but there is a lot of physical damage on the island.
The 85,000 residents on the western side of the island live in great uncertainty. Scientists say the lava flows may last for weeks or months. “We don’t know how long we have to wait to be able to go home,” said Joel Francisco, 38.
Today, the Spanish King Felipe and his wife Letizia traveled to the island to see the damage with their own eyes. They spoke to victims who were forced to leave their homes due to the Cumbre Vega eruption. The couple also met with lifeguards to thank them for their efforts. The King and Queen were accompanied during the visit by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
“Almost everything was robbed from them in one fell swoop,” the king told reporters. No home, no equipment, no clothes, no food, no resources, no work. We must do everything we can to help these families.”
Dutch tourists were also on the Canary Island during the eruption of the volcano. Dozens of these holidaymakers had to be evacuated because the roads leading to their hotel were at risk of being blocked by the explosion.
The travel organization TUI welcomed 79 Dutch vacationers from La Palma today, who were unable to leave the day before. Their flight had to be delayed because ash particles in the upper air layers could cause problems for aircraft. TUI will no longer be bringing vacationers to the island for the rest of the week.
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