La Palma volcano: Three more towns evacuated and firefighters forced to retreat amid intensifying volcanic explosions | World News


Three more towns have been evacuated and firefighters have been forced to retreat amid intensifying volcanic explosions on the island of the Palma in the Canaries.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of the towns of Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and the part of Tacande de Arriba that
had not already been evacuated due to a volcanic eruption.

Residents there were initially told to stay indoors but emergency services said they decided to take more serious precautions due to increased volcanic activity.

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Volcanic rock from La Palma instantly boils water
palma volcano airline queues
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Queues of people were seen waiting to board one of the last ferries to the island of Tenerife

Firefighters also retreated from the town of Todoque due to the growing intensity of volcanic explosions and a “high presence of ash”, the fire service said on Twitter.

Crews had been leading clean-up efforts in the area when a new vent opened up in the flank of the volcano, with videos on social media showing a massive shockwave emanating from the site of the eruption.

“The volcano is in a newly explosive phase… firefighters will not operate anymore today,” the Tenerife fire service said.

The volcano erupted five days ago and has since destroyed almost 400 buildings, including many homes, on the western side of the island of 85,000 people.

Almost 7,000 people have had to flee their homes amid loud explosions, a large cloud of ash and a cracked fissure that has spewed out more lava.

The ash cloud, which rose four miles into the sky, forced regional airline Binter to cancel flights.

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Hear the roar of La Palma’s volcano

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he and ministers plan to declare La Palma a “catastrophic zone” and provide aid to those affected.

No casualties have been yet been reported, which some say is due to the speed of the evacuations.

Spain’s National Geographic Institute recorded 1,130 earthquakes in the area over the past week – but said it had not registered any in the past 24 hours.

In a more positive sign, the advance of the main river of lava towards the sea slowed to one metre per hour.

EYEWITNESS BY ASHNA HURYNAG, CORRESPONDENT

The airspace is shut. The ferries are booked up and it’s near impossible to get a hotel room for tonight.

La Palma’s volcano is bubbling and bringing a renewed sense of threat to the island.

It’s pulsing and thrusting molten rock from its mouth, viciously attacking the atmosphere.

In response, many people are getting off the island. Not just those whose homes are under threat, but also those who are keen to just get out.

With news the airspace has significantly tightened and flights grounded, we met people desperately searching for other means of transport to leave.

Queues of people waited to board one of the last ferries to the island of Tenerife.

Many had flights booked, only to find them cancelled at the last minute as the volcano jolted into fervent action.

The fully booked ferry departs the terminal with Canary Island firefighters too, as they arrived on board having completed a mammoth rescue stint – passengers applauded their work.

Their incredible efforts haven’t gone unnoticed – but whilst they are exhausted from tackling the lava for nearly a week – hundreds are left behind to continue the fight.



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