Because of the approaching lava, the authorities ordered the evacuation of around 300 people. Around 800 residents only had to leave their homes on Tuesday. They were able to bring most of their belongings to safety, as the state TV broadcaster RTVE reported. The number of people who escaped the consequences of the volcanic eruption rose to more than 7,000, according to RTVE on Thursday.
TV pictures showed how residents were clearing out their houses in great haste, important papers, memorabilia, furniture, dishes, washing machines, televisions, mattresses, blankets, bed linen, mopeds, bicycles, toys, clothes, everything of value was taken up Load trucks. Some even unscrewed the taps, reported the newspaper “La Vanguardia”. People would look like thieves of their own household goods if they rummaged through cupboards again and again so as not to forget anything, wrote “El Pais”.
Several pets trapped by lava have been air-fed for days. They cannot be reached by land because of the extremely hot lava around them. Two companies bring the animals daily food and water with the help of a drone, said the island administration.
Volcanic funnel overflowed
In the afternoon there were spectacular pictures when the funnel of the volcano Cumbre Vieja overflowed and large amounts of lava flowed over its rim. However, experts emphasized that this is a normal process from time to time, as RTVE reported. The lava is expected to flow towards the sea on its previous route without causing any new damage.
Since the northern flank of the volcanic cone collapsed last Saturday, the flow of lava through the Aridane valley towards the Atlantic has increased. The emerging lava was also around 1,200 degrees hotter than before and therefore thinner and a little faster. Explosive discharges can be heard again and again, and ash rain accompanies the islanders at every turn.
At the same time, around a hundred more light to medium earthquakes were registered. One had a strength of 4.5 and was thus the most violent since the beginning of the first eruption of the volcano in 50 years on September 19. How long the volcano would remain active, experts could not say. It could take weeks or months, it said.
Hundreds of millions of damage
The evaluation of the data from the European Earth observation system Copernicus has so far destroyed 1,548 buildings by the lava and covered an area of 680 hectares with lava and ash – the equivalent of around 950 football fields. Including ever larger parts of banana plantations, from which the island’s main export good comes. The island government assumed damage amounting to at least 400 million euros two weeks ago. A more recent estimate has not yet been released. Nobody has been injured so far.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez traveled to the island again on Wednesday. During his fourth visit since the outbreak began, he emphasized that the government had already provided ten million euros in emergency aid and another 214 million were earmarked for the purchase of apartments and the repair of infrastructure. “But I also ask for your patience, because there is practically nothing we can do until the volcano has become inactive,” added Sánchez. Unfortunately, there are no signs of this, experts have told him.
Airport in operation
According to the operator Aena, the island’s airport was operational, but was only served by a few airlines such as Binter. Air traffic to the other major tourist islands in the Canary Islands – Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria or Lanzarote – ran normally.