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La Palma’s airport forced to close as second volcanic vent opens, spewing more ash across the Spanish Island

Volcano Alert

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Authorities have closed La Palma’s airport as a new vent opened in an erupting volcano, spreading more ash across the island.

Flights to and from the Spanish island have been cancelled as a result of the volcanic eruption that has lasted nearly a week.

Rivers of lava poured down the slopes of the volcano and flew high into the air as the eruption entered its most explosive stage after a new vent opened on Saturday.

La Palma Airport operator Aena said on Twitter that plane traffic was suspended “due to the accumulation of ash” in the air.

Other airports in the Canary Islands are still operational, the company added.

Workers wearing PPE cleared up the ash as travellers attempted to change their tickets to get on the next available flights.

Other passengers opted to travel by ferry to another island in the Canaries where they could catch flights.

The intensity of the eruptions has increased in recent days, prompting the evacuation of three additional villages on the island. Almost 7,000 people have had to leave their homes.

“Volcanic surveillance measurements carried out since the beginning of the eruption recorded the highest-energy activity so far during Friday afternoon,” emergency services said.

Emergency crews pulled back from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area.

Lava flows have destroyed hundreds of buildings on the island’s western side.

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

On a visit to La Palma on Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a package of measures to help get the island back on its feet and “rebuild lives”.

he Spanish government will provide aid for rebuilding homes and public infrastructure, such as roads, irrigation networks and schools, as well as relaunching the island’s tourism industry, Mr Sanchez said.

He did not say how much money would be made available but said a cabinet meeting next week would provide more details.

No serious injuries or fatalities have been reported amid the volcano’s eruption, but about 15% of the island’s economically crucial banana crop could be at risk of destruction.

Courtesy of Sky News

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

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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.

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.

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.

Courtesy of Sky News

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