As the volcano erupted, lava walled down on a Spanish village at a height of 12 meters (40 feet), as islanders tried to save their homes.
Still spewing from Sunday’s eruption in the Canary Islands, northwest Africa, the lava moved slowly down hillsides to reach the coast. Todoque was the last village between molten rock & the Atlantic Ocean.
Experts said that it could take several days for the lava to cover the remaining two kilometers (1.25 miles), to the sea. However, authorities and locals are not taking any chances with the unpredictable seismic activity.
Residents wishing to save their belongings gathered at the gate in order to be taken into the village. As it accelerated at 120 meters (400 feet an hour), smoke was rising from the lava’s leading edge, destroying everything it touched.
Javier Lopez stated that his house had been in the path of lava for three decades. His relatives and he had been staying with a friend, who had the few documents, photos, and other basic belongings that they could take when they were evacuated Monday.
Lopez said that he’d lived his whole life in a van as he waited to be reunited with the vehicle and other valuables he left behind.
He said, “This is likely to be my last time seeing my home.” “Or, in the most ideal scenario, the house will be isolated by the lava, and inaccessible for whom knows how long.”
To save as many houses from being trapped by lava, firefighting crews worked non-stop over the night to dig a trench and divert the flow of lava.
Melisa Rodriguez, another resident of Todoque, tried to remain positive and calm.
She said, “It is hard to think straight about how you want to save money, but we are only allowed to stay for an hour. You don’t want take too much time because it would be taking away time from other people.”
1000 people were evacuated from Todoque as the lava accelerated towards the island’s most densely populated coast. This brings the total number of evacuated residents to La Palma to 6,800.
Residents face additional dangers from earthquakes, new lava flows, poisonous gases, volcanic ash, acid rain, and other hazards, according to authorities. The lava has a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius (more that 1,800 F) and could trigger explosions or landslides. It can also produce toxic gas clouds when it hits the sea.
Authorities advised that children should be kept inside due to possible breathing difficulties as volcanic ash fell across a large area.
According to the Canary Island Volcanology Institute, the volcanic eruption and its aftermath could continue for up to 84 consecutive days. This calculation was based on previous eruptions that occurred on the archipelago. These eruptions, like the current eruption, were followed by long-lasting seismic activity and heavy lava flows.
It said that Tuesday night saw a sharp rise in the number smaller eruptions that send rocks and cinders high into space.
According to the institute, the rivers of lava have engulfed around 320 buildings, mostly rural homes, and now cover 154 ha (380 acres). Banana groves, vineyards, and other crops have been destroyed by the lava. Fortunately, there have been no casualties thanks to prompt evacuations.
It stated that the volcano also emits between 8,000 to 10,500 tons of sulfur dioxide every day. This also has a negative effect on the lungs.
The rest of La Palma is 35 km (22 miles) in length and approximately 20 km (12 miles) wide at its widest point. Unaffected tourists have continued to fly to La Palma for previously planned holidays. Normal air traffic was maintained.
Because of their mild climate, the Canary Islands are very popular with European tourists.