Lava from volcano on Spain’s La Palma forces 800 to evacuate
CANADA & WORLD
DANIEL ROCA AND JOSEPH WILSON
LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, CANARY ISLANDS — Hundreds of people in Spain’s Canary Islands feared for their homes and property Wednesday as a new river of lava from an erupting volcano threatened another neighbourhood on the island of La Palma. Island authorities ordered the evacuation of around 800 people from the coastal town of Los Llanos de Aridane on Tuesday after the lava took a new course on its way to Atlantic Ocean and put their homes in a probable path of destruction. It was the first mass exit since around 6,000 people were told to leave immediately after the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Sept. 19. Volcanologists found that a new lava flow north of the main river of molten rock had branched off and was heading toward an inhabited area outside the previous evacuation zone. “A part of the neighbourhood had already been evacuated, but given the evolution of the lava stream, it was deemed necessary to clear this specific zone,” Los Llano de Aridane Mayor María García told Spanish state broadcaster TVE. Residents of the La Laguna neighbourhood had only a few hours to gather up their most precious belongings and leave. Volunteers helped school employees salvage educational materials, while others loaded up cars and trucks with furniture. On Wednesday, police accompanied individual families who asked to go back into the exclusion zone to retrieve more belongings. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez travelled to the island on Wednesday, his fourth visit since the initial eruption. The volcano that cracked open the Cumbre Vieja mountain ridge 24 days ago has now lasted longer than the previous eruption on La Palma in 1971. It is the third eruption on the island in the past century.