Volcano erupts in Spain’s Canary Islands; 5000 people evacuated

Published on : Monday, September 20, 2021

The active volcanic region Cumbre Vieja in La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, erupted after several earthquakes were felt over the weekend.

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Involcan) tweeted news of the eruption at 3:24 p.m. local time (10:24 a.m. ET) and urged members of the public to stay away from the area.

The Spanish Civil Guard evacuated around 5,000 people from their homes last night after a volcanic eruption took place on the Canary Island of La Palma at 3.12pm local time on Montaña Rajada, in the forest area of Cabeza de Vaca in El Paso.

The emergency level was raised to red at 5pm local time, affecting the municipalities of Tazacorte, El Paso, Fuencaliente, Mazo and Los Llanos de Aridane, which are home to a total of around 35,000 people.

The authorities had estimated that as many as 10,000 people might have needed to be evacuated from their homes, and recommended to residents that they close all windows and exterior doors, close window blinds and turn off their supplies of water, gas and electricity before making their way to the established meeting points.

There were no reported victims last night, but there was damage to at least eight homes, according to the local authorities.

Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, speaking at a press conference at around 10.30pm local time (one hour behind mainland Spain) said that it is not likely that anyone else will need to be evacuated.

In a video posted on social media by the institute, a large plume of smoke is seen emerging from afar.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has postponed his departure to New York for the UN General Assembly in order to travel to La Palma because of the volcanic eruption.

Torres tweeted that he would be at the Head Committee for Civil Protection and Attention for Volcanic Risk Emergencies to assess the situation in the afternoon.

The Canary island was on alert for a possible volcanic eruption after several earthquakes were felt over the weekend.

Earlier in the day, the volcanology institute wrote in a statement on Facebook that more than 25,000 earthquakes had been detected in the past nine days around the Cumbre Vieja volcano.

The highest magnitude registered was an earthquake of 4.2 on the Richter Scale on Sunday.

People with disabilities had already been evacuated from certain areas around the volcano and hiking trails and pathways had been closed off as a precaution.

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