Mount Cumbre Vieja erupts spewing a column of smoke and ash as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary island of La Palma on September 20, 2021.
DESIREE MARTIN / AFP
A surge of lava destroyed round 100 houses on Spain’s Canary Islands a day after a volcano erupted, forcing 5,000 folks to go away the realm, native authorities mentioned on Monday.
The Cumbre Vieja erupted round 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Sunday, sending huge plumes of thick black smoke into the sky and belching molten lava that oozed down the mountainside on the island of La Palma.
The island is among the most westerly of the Atlantic archipelago off the coast of Morocco.
“Right now we have evacuated 5,000 people and around 100 homes have been destroyed,” mentioned Lorena Hernandez Labrador, a councillor in Los Llanos de Ariadne, a city a number of kilometres from the volcano.
Images on Twitter confirmed slow-moving lava creeping down the mountainside, pockets of flame erupting because it rumbled ever nearer in the direction of a bunch of houses standing simply metres away.
Elsewhere, piles of glowing lava surged onto the patio of a home.
Describing the scene as “desolate”, La Palma’s prime official Mariano Hernandez Zapata mentioned the lava “on average about six metres (20 feet) high”.
“This tongue of lava is engulfing everything in its path. It’s tragic to see how many homes have just gone up in smoke,” he advised Spain’s public tv.
It additionally consumed an area main college the place 25 youngsters had been enrolled, the headmistress advised Cadena Ser radio.
“Up to about two hours ago, we thought it was going to be saved, but unfortunately it has been completely engulfed. It’s totally destroyed,” mentioned Angeles Nieves, her voice breaking.
There was big anguish among the many 1000’s of individuals evacuated from their houses, with many questioning if they might have something to return to.
– ‘You have three minutes’ –
“Right now, we’re watching the news and the lava is 700 metres from our home. I’m really worried because we don’t know I don’t know what’s going to happen to it,” Angie Chaux, 27, who left together with her husband and three-year-old son, advised AFP.
“The police gave us three minutes to get our things. It was all very fast.”
La Cumbre Vieja straddles a ridge within the south of La Palma, which is residence to round 80,000 folks.
Experts had been maintaining a detailed watch on the volcano after observing a latest upsurge in seismic exercise and magma displacements.
An “earthquake swarm” — a sequence of seismic occasions occurring over a brief interval — started on September 11.
Since then, there have been tens of 1000’s of tremors, the strongest with a magnitude of almost 4, the Involcan volcanology institute mentioned.
The final eruption on La Palma was in 1971 when one other a part of the identical volcanic vary — a vent often known as Tenegia — erupted on the southern aspect of the island.
– Fleeing to security –
Yahaira Garcia, 34, who runs a vineyard within the northwestern foothills of the volcano, determined to go away simply earlier than the eruption after an evening of steady quakes.
“My house shook so much it felt like it was going to collapse,” she advised AFP, saying she had rushed over to her dad or mum’s home to assist them get out.
“With us, we took four goats, two pigs, 20 chickens, 10 rabbits, four dogs and a turtle,” she mentioned.
“The images are really disturbing. Now they are saying the volcano could continue erupting for three months.
“I haven’t slept for two nights, I can’t even shut my eyes.”
Local officers consider the lava was prone to transfer southwest in the direction of inhabited and wooded areas, earlier than reaching the coast.
According to Involcan, the lava flows had been shifting at about 700 metres per hour and had a temperature of almost 1,000 levels Celsius (1,830 levels Fahrenheit).
Ahead of the eruption, native authorities had urged the general public to steer clear of the areas surrounding the volcano.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez cancelled a scheduled journey to New York for the United Nations General Assembly after the eruption.
He arrived on the scene late Sunday night to evaluate the state of affairs.
The Canaries final recorded a volcanic eruption in 2011, undersea off El Hierro Island.