New development in the La Palma volcano eruption.
THERE has been a new development today (December 25) in the La Palma volcano eruption… officials say it is over!
“Today’s announcement can be summed up in four words: the eruption is over,” said Julio Pérez, the Minister of Security and spokesman for the Government of the Canary Islands and the Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca).
The volcano, which erupted at around 3 pm (local time) on Sunday, September 19, after a 3.8-magnitude earthquake, expelled tons of lava for more than three months, forcing the evacuation of around 7,000 people from their homes.
It took ten consecutive days without any significant sign of volcanic activity, which according to scientific experts is a sufficient amount of time, to declare the eruption over.
Previously, on several occasions, the volcano had appeared to have finished erupting only for it to resume again a few days later – much to the dismay of the islanders.
However, now the Cumbre Vieja de La Palma volcano is covered by black, frozen and hardened lava while a layer of black ash has settled, acting as a seal over the once active volcano.
According to scientists and the local government, it will take years, if not a decade, to clean up, clear away, rebuild and reclaim this disfigured land.
“The end of the eruption does not mean that there is no more danger”, warned Julio Pérez, adding that “the risks and dangers remain”. There will still be toxic gas emissions and the lava will take a long time to cool. Not to mention the risk of land collapse.
It was the longest eruption the island has known and the first in 50 years, after those of the San Juan volcano in 1949 and Teneguia in 1971.
And it sadly caused enormous damage with nearly 3,000 buildings being destroyed, including 1,345 homes, mainly on the western side of La Palma, as well as schools, churches, health centres and farm irrigation infrastructure.
Thankfully, no injuries or deaths have been directly linked to the eruption.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who visited La Palma several times during the eruption, has pledged to help La Palma rebuild after the disaster.
“When the lava stops flowing, all public institutions will continue to work to repair, rebuild and relaunch La Palma to a better future,” he said during a visit to the island last month.
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