Volcanic eruptions have continued to devastate the island of La Palma with 6,000 people forced to evacuate and hundreds of homes destroyed.
New satellite images show huge plumes of ash soaring into the sky and fields burning from lava flows cascading towards the sea – wiping out buildings in its path.
The eruption on the Spanish Canary Island entered a new phase yesterday when the Cumbre Vieja volcano’s crater collapsed and a new emission vent opened, increasing lava flow.
The island’s airport was forced to close due to a heavy fall of volcanic ash but Spanish airport authority Aena has since said the airport was operational again.
The closure led to long lines at the island’s port to catch ferries off the island.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Friday that the government would next week declare the island a ‘catastrophe zone’.
The full of extent of devastation from volcanic eruptions on the Spanish island of La Palma has been revealed in new satellite images – with 6,000 people forced to evacuate and hundreds of homes destroyed
The eruption on the Spanish Canary Island entered a new phase yesterday when the Cumbre Vieja volcano’s crater collapsed and a new emission vent opened, increasing lava flow
Aerial images show the charred remains on hillside burnt by a lava flow from the Cumbre Vieja volcano
The 4km-high ash cloud above the island in the archipelago can clearly be seen from space in new images released today
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Friday that the government would next week declare the island a ‘catastrophe zone’
Authorities on the Spanish island of La Palma ordered the evacuation of the towns of Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and the part of Tacande de Arriba that had not already been evacuated due to a volcanic eruption, emergency services said on Friday
However, the island’s government said there had been ‘no significant incidents’ with the volcano on Saturday and authorities allowed some evacuated residents to collect belongings from their homes.
The prompt evacuations of more than 6,000 people helped avoid casualties.
Scientists say the eruption could last for up to three months.
Three rivers of lava slithering down a hillside on the western side of the island have destroyed 461 buildings, including homes, and covered 212 hectares (more than 520 acres) of countryside, according to a European Union monitoring system.
This month’s eruption is the first on La Palma since 1971.
Morcuende said the evacuations currently in place would be maintained for another 24 hours as a precaution
Stunning images show the eruption shooting molten lava into the sky at night. More than 350 homes have been destroyed by the flows generated from the eruption
The Cumbre Vieja volcano spews lava, ash and smoke as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary island of La Palma on Sunday
This month’s eruption is the first on La Palma since 1971. Pictured: Smoke and black ash is seen rising from the volcano
Drone footage shows lava flowing following the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja park
Tourists wait for the ferry to leave the island after La Palma Airport was closed, as flights are suspended due to the accumulation of ash following the volcano eruption, on the Canary Island of La Palma
A plume of smoke is seen rising high into the air as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on La Palma on Sunday
According to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute, a new emission vent opened to the west of the main vent on Saturday.
Images captured by drones from the national Geographical and Mining Institute appeared to show that the volcano’s cone had broken.
Director of volcano response committee Pevolca, Miguel Angel Morcuende, told a news conference on Saturday: ‘It is not unusual in this type of eruption that the cone of the volcano fractures. A crater is formed that does not support its own weight and … the cone breaks.
‘This partial rupture happened overnight.’
Morcuende said the evacuations currently in place would be maintained for another 24 hours as a precaution.
The Cumbre Viega volcano is seen spewing lava, ash and smoke on Sunday as the number of evacuees reaches 6,000 people
A couple use umbrellas to protect themselves from the volcanic ash which is falling on La Palma on Sunday
People wait in long queues to be evacuated at a port on the island of La Palma on Sunday following the intensified volcanic activity
A woman picks up the ash from the road after it fell on Santa Cruz de La Palma on Sunday following the volcanic eruption
There were long queues at La Palma’s main port as people, some whose flights had been cancelled, tried to get ferries off the island
According to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute, the new emission vent opened to the west of the main vent
A machine collects ashes on the road between Santa Cruz de La Palma and El Paso on Sunday
La Palma, with a population of over 83,000, is one of an archipelago making up the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.
Spanish airport operator Aena said the island’s airport had closed.
‘La Palma airport is inoperative due to ash accumulation. Cleaning tasks have started, but the situation may change at any time,’ it tweeted.
Workers swept volcanic ash off the runway, electronic boards showed cancelled flights and the departures hall was quiet as some people arriving at the airport discovered they would not be able to fly out.
There were long queues at La Palma’s main port as people, some whose flights had been cancelled, tried to get ferries off the island.
‘I am going to Barcelona. But because we can’t fly we are taking the ferry to Los Cristianos (on Tenerife island) and from there we will go to the airport and fly to Barcelona,’ said Carlos Garcia, 47.
People evacuated from three more towns on Friday will not be able to return to their homes to retrieve their belongings because of the ‘evolution of the volcanic emergency,’ local authorities said.
Passangers wait at the closed La Palma Airport, as flights are suspended due to the accumulation of ash, on the Canary Island of La Palma
On Friday, authorities evacuated the towns of Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and the part of Tacande de Arriba that had not already been evacuated after the new vent opened up in the flank of the volcano
The fiery explosions can be seen lighting up the sky behind hundreds of buildings in Los Llanos de Aridane on the island early this morning
Authorities initially ordered residents of those towns to stay indoors but moved to an evacuation due to intensifying volcanic activity (pictured, Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt overnight)
‘Volcanic surveillance measurements carried out since the beginning of the eruption recorded the highest-energy activity so far during Friday afternoon,’ emergency services said.
At the quiet port of Tazacorte, fishermen described the devastating effect the eruption has had on their livelihoods.
‘We haven’t been out fishing in a week, the area is closed,’ said Jose Nicolas San Luis Perez, 49, who lost his house in the eruption.
‘About half the people I know have lost their homes. I run into friends on the street and we start crying.’
On Friday, authorities evacuated the towns of Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and the part of Tacande de Arriba that had not already been evacuated after the new vent opened up in the flank of the volcano.
No fatalities or serious injuries have been reported in the volcano’s eruption, but about 15 per cent of the island’s economically crucial banana crop could be at risk, jeopardising thousands of jobs.
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