The eruption of the volcano in the Canaries causes a massive evacuation
A volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma forced local authorities to evacuate thousands of people, but no injuries were reported, according to the New York Times.
The island, one of the Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, has around 85,000 inhabitants. It was the island’s first volcanic eruption in 50 years.
Authorities planned to evacuate 5,000 to 10,000 people living in villages on the edge of La Cumbre Vieja National Park, as ash and lava from the eruption threatened their safety.
Videos posted on social media showed houses surrounded by lava and plumes of thick smoke rising into the sky.
– @ ezequieleg968 (@ ezequieleg968) September 19, 2021
Volcanic eruption report in the Canary Islands: https://t.co/1ocxlUevw3
– Matthew Bennett (@matthewbennett) September 19, 2021
The island was on high alert before the eruption, as several earthquakes had occurred in the area in the previous days, the largest registering at 4.2 on the Richter scale, according to CNN.
Residents of the island who would need assistance to evacuate, including those with disabilities, were pre-emptively relocated from the area before the eruption. The hiking trails surrounding the volcano had also been closed as a precaution.
“We call on people to exercise extreme caution and stay away from the eruption area to avoid unnecessary risk,” the local government tweeted on Sunday, CNN noted. “Likewise, it is very important to keep the roads clear so that they can be used by our ground agents.”
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has reportedly postponed his trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, preferring to travel to La Palma following the eruption.
“I am currently heading towards the Canary Islands because of the seismic evolution, to see firsthand the situation in La Palma, the coordination of the means and the protocols which have been activated”, tweeted Sunday Sánchez.