A HOUSE burns after the eruption.—Reuters
A HOUSE burns after the eruption.—Reuters

LOS ARIDANE: A surge of lava destroyed around 100 homes on Spain’s Canary Islands a day after a volcano erupted, forcing 5,000 people to leave the area, local authorities said on Monday.

The Cumbre Vieja erupted around 3pm on Sunday, sending vast 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 one of 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,” said Lorena Hernandez Labrador, a councillor in Los Llanos de Ariadne, a town several kilometres from the volcano.

Images on Twitter showed slow-moving lava creeping down the mountainside, pockets of flame erupting as it rumbled ever closer towards a group of homes standing just metres away. Elsewhere, piles of glowing lava surged onto the patio of a house.

Describing the scene as “desolate”, La Palma’s top official Mariano Hernandez Zapata said 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 told Spain’s public television. It also consumed a local primary school where 25 children were enrolled, the headmistress told 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,” said Angeles Nieves, her voice breaking.

There was huge anguish among the thousands of people evacuated from their homes, with many wondering if they would have anything to go back to.

“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 with her husband and three-year-old son, said.

“The police gave us three minutes to get our things. It was all very fast.” La Cumbre Vieja straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma, which is home to around 80,000 people.

Experts had been keeping a close watch on the volcano after observing a recent upsurge in seismic activity and magma displacements. An “earthquake swarm” — a sequence of seismic events occurring over a short period — began on Sept 11.

Since then, there have been tens of thousands of tremors, the strongest with a magnitude of nearly four, the Involcan volcanology institute said.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2021

Opinion

Pakhtuns, state and nationalism
Updated 15 Oct 2021

Pakhtuns, state and nationalism

They have lost the most in the ‘war on terror’. Why then is the PM painting Pakhtuns as a nation of holy warriors?
Unity of faith
15 Oct 2021

Unity of faith

There is unity in the apparent diversity of faith traditions.
The people’s page
Updated 15 Oct 2021

The people’s page

Many are disillusioned with the ‘Naya Pakistan’ narrative.
The next 22 months
Updated 14 Oct 2021

The next 22 months

There are at least 11 key challenges which the government will face in the run-up to the next polls.

Editorial

No need for NAB
Updated 15 Oct 2021

No need for NAB

THE National Accountability Bureau has sent instructions to its regional bureaus to stop processing cases that fall...
Forced conversions
Updated 15 Oct 2021

Forced conversions

THE majoritarian view has once again prevailed in the matter of bringing about legislation against forced conversion...
15 Oct 2021

Transgender rights

MEMBERS of the transgender community in the country are often at the receiving end of both their families’ and...
One big mess
14 Oct 2021

One big mess

At its core, the tension is the result of blurring of institutional boundaries witnessed since the PTI government came to power.
Tareen’s admission
Updated 14 Oct 2021

Tareen’s admission

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan’s estranged friend Jahangir Khan Tareen has finally confirmed what has long been alleged...
14 Oct 2021

Dengue outbreak

DENGUE cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in several cities of KP and Punjab. According to data provided by...