Madrid — The airport on La Palma Island, Spain, was closed on Saturday due to a cloud of ash erupting from a volcano that has been erupting for a week. Scientists said another volcanic spout has opened, putting the islanders at new risk.
The intensity of the eruption that began on September 19 has recently increased, urging the evacuation of three additional villages on the island that are part of the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain in the Atlantic Ocean in northwestern Africa. About 7,000 people are forced to abandon their homes.
The most recent volcanic eruption is La Palma, with a population of 85,000, the first eruption since 1971.
Aina, the operator of La Palma Airport, said the airport had “failed” due to the accumulation of ash. Other airports in the Canary Islands were still operating on Saturday, but some airlines had suspended flights, Aina said.
Paramedics returned from the volcano on Friday as the explosion sent extensively melted rock and ash. The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said another vent opened early Saturday.
A river of lava slid down the hillside towards the southwest coast of the island, destroying all of its roads, including hundreds of homes. However, the flow speed has slowed considerably, lava has made little progress, and about 2 km remains to reach the sea, said Miguel Ángel Morcuende, head of the Canary Islands Volcano Emergency Program. ..
At the press conference, Mr. Morquende said at the press conference, “I have no intention of predicting when I will get there.”
A more pressing concern for La Palma residents is the huge cloud of ash rising from the volcano and being carried by the wind to other parts of the island. In addition to being a serious danger to aviation, volcanic ash can damage people’s airways, lungs, and eyes, he said. Local governments require residents in the affected areas to avoid going out and only wear masks and goggles.