Santa Cruz de La Palma, Spain, Dec 9 (EFE).- As the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma approaches its third month of activity, authorities have said they were hopeful the eruption would subside before 2022.
The regional president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that experts from the Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) had reason to believe the volcanic eruption would end before the end of the year.
“We need it to end to rebuild the island, no one should have to leave because of this natural phenomenon,” Torres added.
The volcano, which began erupting on September 19, has wreaked havoc on the island’s economy and displaced thousands.
Technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, added a dash of caution, however, by warning that although seismic activity and sulfur dioxide emissions had receded in recent days, they were “not low enough” to suggest the eruption was ending.
The National Geographic Institute (IGN) recorded five quakes on La Palma during the early hours of Thursday, the largest of which was of a 2.9 magnitude in Fuencaliente 15 kilometers underground.
Multiple lava streams continue to pour out of the volcano and the lava delta that was created when two rivers gushed into the ocean continues to expand.
So far some 1,628 hectares, the equivalent of over 1,400 soccer fields, have been damaged by the eruption.
Around 359.82 hectares of banana tree plantations, 62.34 hectares of vineyards and 27.33 hectares of avocado crops have been razed by lava and ash.
Amid the widespread damage, the regional president of the Canary Islands and the Spanish Minister of the Presidency Félix Bolaños on Wednesday announced a set of measures to speed up assistance for those who have been affected by the eruption. The government has deployed additional human capital and resources to deal with the damage.