No more feared destruction on La Palma as lava pours from new vent
Lava flowed from a newly opened fissure in the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in Spain on Friday, tracing a different path from previous flows and raising fears of more destruction, as the fine ash forced islanders to don masks and goggles.
A river of glowing lava meandered down from the new fissure, which erupted Thursday night about 400 meters (1,300 feet) north of the site of the primary eruption.
Several vents have opened since the volcano erupted on September 19, but the The Institute of Volcanology of the Canaries described the latest opening as a new “hotbed of eruption”.
“We are worried about the path of this new flow towards the sea, although it is should join the previous one in the next few hours“, said the president of the municipal council of La Palma, Mariano Hernandez Zapata.
He said more homes were engulfed in lava overnight. “We have more drama to come, more people to take care of of, “he said at a press conference.
About 6,000 people were evacuated since the start of the eruption and have not yet returned home. More than 800 buildings, including houses, churches and schools, were destroyed.
The volcano released 80 million cubic meters of molten rock, said regional leader Angel Victor Torres, doubling the amount expelled in La Palma’s last major eruption 50 years ago in half the time.
Residents of Los Llanos de Aridane, one of the hardest hit towns, have made a habit of carrying umbrellas and wearing eye protection as a precaution against the volcanic dust covering the streets and floating in the air.
“Last night the ashes irritated my eyes a lot, I had to use eye drops and my skin was itchy,” said Matilde Gonzalez Tavarez, a 45-year-old caregiver who was visiting her mother. in a care home in Los Llanos.
“It’s helplessness, fear, insecurity. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said, while the street cleaners swept the carpet of black ash behind her.
Juan Antonio Perez Gonzalez, 56, who runs a florist business in the city, fears the worst is yet to come.
“I can’t look good or give you good news because it’s a calamity,” he told Reuters. He said many locals were getting ready to pack and leave.
Photo: REUTERS / Borja SuÃ¡rez