HOT lava reaches a balsa, normally used for irrigation, after an eruption of the volcano.—AP
HOT lava reaches a balsa, normally used for irrigation, after an eruption of the volcano.—AP

LOS ARIDANE: A new fissure has emerged in the erupting volcano on Spain’s Canary Islands, belching out more lava and forcing another 500 people to flee as experts on Tuesday closely watched its progress towards the sea.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano has forced a total of 6,000 people from their homes and destroyed a large number of properties and land spanning a huge area since it erupted on Sunday afternoon.

“166 destroyed buildings and 103 hectares (254 acres) covered by the lava flows,” tweeted Copernicus, the EU’s Earth observation satellite.

The volcano straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma, one of seven islands that make up the Atlantic archipelago which lies off the coast of Morocco.

“You have practically your whole life there.. then one day the volcano decides to erupt and puts an end to it all,” evacuee Israel Castro Hernandez said after his home was destroyed by the wall of lava.

“We keep looking over there and we just can’t believe it: we keep thinking that our house is underneath that volcano,” said his wife, Yurena Torres Abreu.

The pair were among hundreds more people who were evacuated overnight after the new fissure emerged following an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.1 at 9:32 pm (2032 GMT), the Involcan volcanology institute said.

Long lines of cars could be seen waiting to leave the area as police sirens wailed, the fiery glow of the erupting volcano lighting up the dark skies, TV images showed.

“I just ache for all our people. So many friends have lost everything,” said Yurena’s sister, Elizabeth Torres Abreu, who also lost her house.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2021

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