LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands (AP) – Hundreds of people in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain woke up on Wednesday fearing for their homes and belongings after another river of lava from a volcano erupting threatened to engulf another district en route to the Atlantic Ocean.
Island authorities on Tuesday ordered the evacuation of around 800 people from the coastal town of Los Llanos de Aridane after lava took a new course and put their homes on its likely path of destruction.
About 6,000 people were immediately withdrawn from the area within hours of the initial volcanic eruption on September 19, when their homes and farms were directly under the path of the volcano’s first lava stream.
No new mass evacuation was necessary in the following three weeks.
But on Tuesday, volcano scientists advising authorities discovered that a new lava flow north of the main river of molten rock had branched out and was heading towards an inhabited area outside of what was previously the area of ‘evacuation.
“Part of the neighborhood had already been evacuated, but given the evolution of the lava flow, it was deemed necessary to clean up this specific area,” the mayor of Los Llano de Aridane, María García, told the Spanish public television channel TVE.
The residents of the La Laguna district had only a few hours to collect their most valuable possessions and leave. Volunteers helped staff at a local school collect teaching materials, while others loaded cars and trucks with furniture. Police accompanied individual families on Wednesday who requested to return to the exclusion zone to collect other personal effects.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will visit the island on Wednesday, his fourth visit since the eruption.
La Palma is part of the Spanish Canary Islands, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of northwest Africa whose economy depends on tourism and the cultivation of Canarian plantains.
The lava destroyed more than 1,400 buildings, including houses, farms and other structures, and covered 656 hectares (1,621 acres), including 90 hectares (more than 200 acres) dedicated to the cultivation of plantains. . No life was lost.