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Evacuations pick up pace on Spanish island after volcano erupts
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 09 - 2021

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez arrived in La Palma to assess the situation and provide assistance to local authorities after a volcanic eruption on Sunday.
A volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday, sending lava shooting into the air and streaming in rivers towards houses in two villages from the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island.
Speaking at a news conference, Sánchez said part of the Military Emergency Unit would be deployed on the Atlantic island, in addition to the Civil Guard and the National police.
The eruption came after a weeklong buildup of seismic activity, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands as lava flows destroyed isolated houses and threatened to reach the coast.
The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported the initial eruption near the southern end of the island, the first one there in 40 years.
Authorities immediately evacuated over 1,000 people, but Spain's Civil Guard said it may need to evacuate up to 10,000 residents.
One black lava flow with a burning tip was sliding toward some houses in the village of El Paso.
Mayor Sergio Rodríguez said 300 people in immediate danger had been evacuated and sent to the El Paso football field.
Roads were closed due to the explosion and authorities urged people not to approach the area.
La Palma has a population of 85,000. The last eruption on the Canary Islands had occurred underwater off the coast of El Hierro island in 2011, and lasted for five months
People with reduced mobility had begun to be moved off the Spanish-owned Atlantic island of La Palma earlier on Sunday.
A 3.8-magnitude quake had been recorded on Sunday as vibrations from the seismic activity were felt on the surface.
The Spanish Volcano Risk Action Plan's scientific committee said that stronger earthquakes were "likely to be felt and may cause damage to buildings".
The committee also pointed out some isolated locations at risk from landslides.
Some of those evacuated be taken in at a military outpost on the island. La Palma had been on alert for the past week, after geologists reported an accumulation of molten rock under Cumbre Vieja, a dormant volcanic ridge near the island's southern tip. -- Euro News


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