The Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca) has decreed this noon the evacuation of between 700 and 800 residents in the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane in anticipation that the lava flow that runs further northwest ―which is already close to the boundary zone of the evacuated perimeter – can reach inhabited areas. This is the last eviction order for the moment since the eruption of the La Palma volcano on September 19, and brings the total number of displaced to about 6,800. “We have made an evacuation in a preventive way and with enough time to be able to remove everything that was necessary,” Pevolca spokesman Miguel Ángel Morcuende explained at a press conference this Tuesday.
“We are very nervous,” says Víctor, a resident of La Laguna, in a telephone conversation. “We do not know when the lava may arrive and we have not received any information in recent days.” He, like his neighbors, has spent the morning loading essential items in his car. In your case, to go to El Paso. The General Directorate of Security and Emergencies has ordered the eviction of the area between Camino de Cruz Chica until the junction with the general highway from Los Llanos de Aridane to Puerto Naos, the latter tourist area that has been evacuated for weeks.
Starting at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday and until 7:00 p.m., those affected by this evacuation order must vacate their homes, with their belongings and pets, and go to the meeting point located in the Campo de Lucha Camino León de los Llanos of Aridane, has informed the Pevolca. Those who cannot carry out the collection of belongings this Tuesday will be allowed to access their homes in subsequent days, gradually, provided that security conditions allow it.
The evacuees have been asked to bring their documentation and that of the house, medicines for daily use, mobile phone, charger, flashlight and clothing for several days. From there, predictably, they will be transferred to the El Fuerte military barracks, on the outskirts of Santa Cruz de La Palma. Before leaving their homes, they have also been advised to lower blinds and close windows, exterior doors, and water, gas, and electricity supplies.
Three lava flows
There are currently several relatively active casts. The first one, which according to Morcuende “has lost steam and has no lava input”, which is the one that has surrounded the Todoque Mountain to the north and to the south. There is another stream that descends with power and that runs parallel to the main one “causing significant damage in the cultivation and residential areas” that is not a concern from a safety point of view because it runs through a previously evacuated area. Currently, it is located about 200 meters from the sea. If it arrives, it could create a new lava delta (fajana). The third lava tongue, which has been detached from the previous one, is the one that has caused the new eviction. Despite the fact that it has “less power” than the arm from which it emerges, it is threatening “some urban element” that was not evacuated until now.
Last Monday, the Pevolca had ordered the confinement of some 3,500 people who reside in a diamond-shaped area that includes various towns in El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane. In this case, the decision was due to the possible release of toxic gases in the Callejón de la Gata industrial estate. This confinement was lifted in the morning of this Tuesday.
The crisis cabinet has not provided updated data on the area occupied by lava or destroyed homes on Tuesday. On the other hand, it has detailed that 169.44 agricultural hectares have already been affected: 90.25 of banana trees, 9.43 of avocado trees, 48.37 of vineyards and 21.39 of other crops.
The director of the National Geographic Institute in the Canary Islands (IGN), María José Blanco, has detailed about the dispersion of ashes that the most affected areas will be the eastern and southern slopes of La Palma, and that fine ash fall in the west is not ruled out from Tenerife. “Due to the expected position of the plume, it is possible that the activity of the La Palma airport will be compromised”, he concluded.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.