Disasters & Accidents

Lava spewing from La Palma volcano swallows up hundreds of houses

Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain, Sep 23 (EFE).- The lava expelling from the volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma has exceeded 1,000 degrees celsius and swallowed up hundred of houses in its way to toward the ocean.

Thirty houses and other buildings were devoured by the lava spewing from the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge in the south of the island in the past hours, bringing the total tally of damaged buildings to 350 since the volcano erupted four days ago, the EU’s Copernicus Earth Monitoring Service said Thursday.

Some 166 hectares (410 acres) have also been torched along the way, according to Copernicus’ calculations.

Despite the volcano continues erupting, the situation on La Palma, located northwest of Spain’s Canaries, a group of islands of volcanic origin in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa, is stabilising as the lava flows advance slowly as they inch their way toward the sea.

Walls of molten lava, however, have reached up to 15 meters in height.

The volcano is sending an estimate 4.1-kilometers high plumes of smoke into the sky, according to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Involcan).

Meanwhile, aid has been increasingly directed toward the nearly 6,000 people who have had to flee their homes in the affected areas so far.

Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, accompanied by prime minister Pedro Sanchez, are expected to visit La Palma on Thursday to offer support to the island’s residents, who are losing their houses and livelihoods amid the lava flows.

Scientists at the Involcan estimate that the eruption is spewing between 7,997 and 10,665 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere each day.

The surface temperature of the lava can reach highs of 1,113 C (2,035 F), and scientists have warned of toxic steam when it comes into contact with the ocean.

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