Disasters & Accidents

La Palma residents helpless as lava sweeps away livelihoods

(Update 1: Adds details throughout, quotes, re-ledes alters headline)

La Palma, Spain, Sep 22 (EFE).- Vicente Amado watched helplessly as a 10-meter tall lava flow cut off access to his banana plantation and threatened to swallow up his livelihood.

“If the flow moves a little bit more, it will take my farm,” he tells Efe, occasionally looking at the wall of molten rock edging toward the communities of La Laguna and Todoque on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma.

“The flow is just meters away. With any luck I’ll salvage something, but not the bananas,” he adds. “I’ve already accepted that my life’s work is lost.

“We’re no longer worried, that was yesterday. Now we’re desolate,” he adds.

Bananas provide a living for many on the island, and are a prized product on the Spanish mainland.

Víctor Cabrera shares the pain as he begs police officers to be able to access his house, just 500 meters away, to gather belongings.

He wants to collect treasured items, not clothes or material goods.

“Anguish,” is how he describes the situation. “We don’t know if (the house) will be swallowed up in a few hours.”

The area affected by the lava flow on the Spanish island of La Palma has increased by 50% since the eruption of the volcano three days ago and experts predict it will continue for an average of 55 more days but could last up to 84.

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