A volcano erupted on Sunday on the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canaries, sending a plume of smoke and ash into the air and jets of lava towards homes in two villages. TV Canaries broadcasts live images of this event.
A lava flow has already engulfed 20 houses in the village of El Paso, as well as stretches of road, Mayor Sergio Rodriguez told Spanish public radio on Monday morning.
Lava is now spreading to neighboring Los Llanos de Aridane where hundreds of homes are at risk, he added.
“We are monitoring the trajectory of the lava,” said the mayor.
The eruption began at 3:15 p.m. local time (2:15 p.m. GMT) in Cumbre Vieja National Park in the south of the island, according to the Canary Islands government.
ud83c uddea ud83c uddf8 The Cumbre Vieja volcano, located on the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canary archipelago, erupted for the first time in 50 years.
Many houses were destroyed by the lava and more than 5,000 people were evacuated.
– Hugo Décrypte (@HugoDecrypte) September 20, 2021
Lava jets reaching hundreds of meters in height
Just before the eruption, the authorities had evacuated around forty people with mobility problems and farm animals from the villages around the volcano.
Two hours later, as lava flows descended from the volcano, the municipality ordered the evacuation of four villages.
After dark, TV footage showed lava jets reaching hundreds of meters in height, and at least three glowing lava flows – one of them, several hundred meters long and tens of meters wide, reached a road below and started sweeping houses in the village of El Paso.
5,000 residents of four villages evacuated
Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres said that 5,000 inhabitants of four villages had been evacuated, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane. No injuries have been reported yet, he added at a press conference.
No other evacuation should be necessary, said the regional president on Monday morning.
The Binter Canarias airline, which serves the archipelago, announced on Monday that it had canceled four flights to and from the island of La Gomera due to the volcanic eruption.
The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sanchez, arrived on the scene Sunday evening to meet with the local executive on the measures to be adopted in the face of the situation.
“We have all the (necessary) resources and all the soldiers, the citizens can rest in peace”, he said.
Pedro Sanchez had indicated earlier today on Twitter that he had postponed his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in New York in order to go to La Palma.
Seismic activity had suddenly accelerated in recent days in the Cumbre Vieja chain of volcanoes and La Palma had been on high alert ever since.
Cumbre Vieja, one of the most active volcanic regions in the Canaries, had not experienced a major eruption since 1971.