Society 28/09/2021

New Cumbre Vieja lava flow more fluid and moves faster towards the sea

Spanish government approves €10.5m aid package to help buy homes for those affected by the disaster

1 min

BarcelonaMore fluid and faster. This is how the lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma is flowing again, after being inactive for a few hours on Monday. The magma is advancing towards the municipality of Tazacorte, towards the sea and is about a thousand metres from the coastline.

1. How active is the volcano now?

The volcano was active again yesterday at seven o'clock in the evening, after having been silent for a large part of the day. In this resumption the main feature is that lava is less thick, that is, it is more similar to Hawaiian volcanoes. At the moment there are two active vents: one in the main cone of Cumbre Vieja and the other below, which is emitting much more fluid magma at a higher temperature.

According to the Volcanology Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan), the volcano is now emitting less ash and pyroclastic material than in previous days. The agency indicates that it has entered an effusive phase, which means that eruptions may have less prominence.

2. When is it expected to reach the sea?

Specialists do not dare to set when the magma will reach the sea and there are even those who doubt that it will eventually arrive. The flow is encountering obstacles, such as the mountain in the municipality of Todoque, just under a kilometre from the coast of Tazacorte.

3. What is the extent of the destruction of the magma?

Since Cumbre Vieja erupted on 19 September, lava has spread over an area of 258 hectares, according to calculations by the European earth observation system Copernicus, which has put the number of buildings affected at 686 (589 of them totally destroyed under the lava) and the number of kilometres of road missing at 21.

4. What financial aid will those affected receive?

The cabinet will approve a €10.5m grant to help the victims. Of this amount, about half (€5.5m) will go towards the purchase of 107 homes in La Palma that will have to be available for immediate occupation, according to the decree to which Efe has had access. The aid package will be limited to residents registered on the island who have lost their home, whether they are owners or tenants.

5. What prevention measures are being taken?

In view of the magma advancing towards the coast of Tazacorte, the preventive confinement of San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa was already ordered on Sunday. This implies that the residents of these municipalities are recommended to stay indoors to avoid the inconvenience of ash fall and the impact of gases and volcanic material. However, no significant reduction in air quality has yet been detected in the area.