Stricken residents see rivers of lava from the kitchen window as La Palma volcano erupts again

A volcano on Spain’s La Palma island began ejecting lava again yesterday after a lull, while hundreds of people in coastal villages bore the brunt.

Residents hunkered down in anticipation of lava emitted in previous days reaching the sea and releasing toxic gas.

Spurts of vivid lava emerged from the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the early evening and snaked down the dark mountainside after a period of several hours without explosions, according to witnesses.

The rivers of fire were so close, they could be seen from kitchen windows.

The hiatus and new explosions came eight days after lava started pouring from the mountain range on the island, which neighbours Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Pigeons fly at dawn in front of the lava and smoke, following the eruption of a volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma, in El Paso, Spain, September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Pigeons fly at dawn in front of the lava and smoke, following the eruption of a volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma (Reuters)
Lava is seen through the window of a kitchen from El Paso following the eruption of a volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Lava is seen through the window of a kitchen from El Paso (Reuters)
epa09492411 View of the lava rivers due to the eruption of Cumbre Vieja Volcano from the village of Tazacorte in La Palma island, Canary Islands, Spain, 28 September 2021. The Cumbre Vieja volcano began to erupt in the Montana Rajada mountains in the municipality of El Paso on 19 September. The area had registered hundreds of small earthquakes along the week as magma pressed the subsoil on its way out, urging the regional authorities to evacuate locals before the eruption took place. EPA/Angel Medina G
View of the lava rivers due to the eruption of Cumbre Vieja Volcano from the village of Tazacorte in La Palma (Credits: EPA)

‘Activating and deactivating is logical, natural in the evolution of Strombolian volcanoes,’ said Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca response committee, referring to the type of violent eruption that emits incandescent dust.

Since September 19, black lava has been slowly flowing down the volcano’s western flank toward the sea, destroying more than 500 houses as well as churches and banana plantations, according to the European Union’s Copernicus disaster monitoring programme.

Spanish property portal Idealista estimated the damage at around 178 million euros (£152 million). Yesterday, two tongues of the superheated black lava were rounding a hill to the west of the small town of Todoque, less than a kilometre from the Atlantic. Authorities said they could not be sure when it might reach the sea.

A screengrab from drone footage shows lava flowing following the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja park, on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain September 26, 2021. REUTERS TV via REUTERS
A screengrab from drone footage shows lava flowing and the damage it has caused. (Reuters)
German resident, Gert Waegerle, 75, who was evacuated a week ago, stands inside his house after returning to it, following the eruption of a volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma, in Tacande de Arriba, Spain, September 27, 2021. Picture taken September 27, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
German resident, Gert Waegerle, 75, who was evacuated a week ago, stands inside his house after returning to it, following the eruption of the volcano (Reuters)
LA PALMA, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 28: Views of the Cumbre Vieja volcano expelling lava and pyroclast, taken from La Lagunas mountain, on September 28th in Las Manchas, La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. After several hours of inactivity, the volcano reactivated yesterday and entered an 'effusive' phase in which it is once again generating strong Strombolian-type explosions and more fluid lava with a greater capacity to move. These large lava flows are located 1 kilometer from the Atlantic Ocean and their arrival to the sea could cause adverse chemical reactions. Since its eruption last Sunday, September 19, the La Palma volcano has left at least 6,000 people evacuated and some 400 buildings damaged. (Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
Views of the Cumbre Vieja volcano expelling lava and pyroclast, taken from La Lagunas mountain in Las Manchas (Getty Images)

Still, about 300 local residents in the coastal areas of San Borondon, Marina Alta and Baja and La Condesa have been confined to their homes as the moment of contact between the lava and the sea is likely to trigger explosions and emit clouds of chlorine gas.

Local airline Binter, which had planned to resume flights to and from the islands on Monday afternoon, said conditions were still unsafe and that all transfers would be cancelled until Tuesday.

No fatalities or serious injuries have been reported, but about 15% of the island’s banana crop could be at risk, jeopardising thousands of jobs.

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