La Palma volcano: authorities block the coastal area as lava approaches the sea

The 1,250-degree Celsius lava could touch the Atlantic Ocean in the coming hours, likely to cause explosions and send clouds of toxic gases over the island, the Canary Islands’ emergency services warned Monday morning.

“Given the possibility that the lava will reach the sea in the coming hours in the coastal area of ​​Tazacorte, and in anticipation of possible emissions of harmful gas, the volcano’s emergency committee in the Canary Islands orders the closure of San Borondon, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa. , “they tweeted.

“The population should follow the instructions of the authorities and stay at home with closed doors and windows until the situation can be evaluated in the morning,” they added.

In the early hours of Monday morning, the lava traveled past the southwestern town of Todoque, which was evacuated a few days ago and was only 1.6 kilometers (approximately 1 mile) from the coast of La Palma, according to emergency services.

Authorities have also urged residents within a 5-kilometer radius of the volcano to take further action due to the possibility of new explosive eruptions that could cause glass to shatter.

The main airline for the Canary Islands, Binter Canarias, confirmed on Monday that it will continue to suspend flights to and from La Palma airport while monitoring the situation.

All other air traffic at the airport was also canceled Monday morning, according to Spain’s airport operator, AENA.

Monday is the ninth day in a row with eruptions from the volcano that has so far forced the evacuation of nearly 6,000 people, destroyed hundreds of homes and ravaged the island’s economically crucial banana plantations.

Reuters drone images showed a rapid river of red-hot lava flowing down the crater slopes, passing close to homes and shards of earth and buildings engulfed by a black mass of slower, older lava.

The lava flow has engulfed more than 230 hectares, said the European Union’s satellite monitoring service Copernicus, devouring hundreds of houses as well as roads, schools and churches and forcing thousands to evacuate.

No deaths or serious injuries have been reported since the volcano erupted, but about 15% of the island’s banana crop could be endangered and endanger thousands of jobs.

Additional reporting from Reuters.

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