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Lava from the La Palma volcano enters the urban area of ​​La Laguna


The gas station that was right next to the town church, the La Laguna school, the supermarket, the soccer field … and the houses of hundreds of neighbors. The lava emitted by the La Palma volcano continues to engulf the vital projects of citizens and businessmen in its inexorable advance. This time, the tragic turn has reached the urban area of ​​La Laguna, one of the largest towns in the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane. “Broken dreams and lost years”, according to the words expressed this Wednesday by the president of the Cabildo, Mariano Hernández Zapata.

“These are tremendously hard moments, and the symptoms do not show that we are near the end” , has stressed the President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, who has underlined the efforts against the clock to ensure the distribution of housing to the affected population and irrigation to farmers. “We cannot say if the case of La Laguna will cause partial or absolute damage, we hope not,” he said. “We are at the mercy of the volcano, but we will do what is humanly possible to alleviate its damage.” Material damage can be quantified in numbers: 845, 88 destroyed hectares and 1. 122 buildings destroyed according to the cadastre, 902 of them for residential use.

Efectivos del segundo Batallón de la Unidad Militar de Emergencias (UME), durante una recogida de enseres en la zona de viviendas San Borondón, en La Palma.
Personnel from the Second Battalion of the Military Unit of Emergencias (UME), during a collection of belongings in the San Borondón housing area, in La Palma. Military Emergency Unit (Europa Press )

The data, however, do not quantify the distress of hundreds of neighbors. The urban area of ​​La Laguna, evacuated in three different operations since the past 12 of October, is being attacked by two different casts, the 8 and the 10, according to the nomenclature of the Military Emergency Unit. The technical director of the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca), Miguel Ángel Morcuende, explained that from them, in addition, an appendix “much more powerful in calories” has been detached, which is the one that at 14. 30 local time has devastated the gas station. “This wash has grown during the morning,” says the spokesman: “It has been quite fast.” Lava, when it is separated “from areas already threshed, already destroyed”, what it does is “accumulate solids and communicate a lot of heat to the ground” through which the lava flows. Consequently, they lose speed and gain in viscosity. This is what is happening in this area.

Morcuende has also referred to another laundry, the one that can reach the local school, a center that started the course with 160 students. In his opinion, “the best possibility” is for the group of streams “to go to the first trough that runs through the south of the mountain of La Laguna. The “worst” scenario, on the other hand, is that these languages ​​will take their way north of the mountain, towards La Laguna. “You can already imagine that we would be facing a new, undesirable scenario,” he said, especially due to the possible fall of the school.

The wash that runs through the south of Montaña de La Laguna goes advancing, and at the beginning of the morning he was 90 meters from the coastline, farther from the revealed yesterday by drones of volcanologists. “If the laundry reaches the sea, we will carry out a confinement, which is already prepared,” explained Morcuende. This confinement will affect about 3. 000 people.

Earthquakes continue to frighten the local population. During the night, one of 4.9 located at 37 could be felt throughout the island. depth. In general, seismicity continues to be located, mainly, close to that of the first days of the eruption, that is, at depths between 10 and 15 kilometers , but “earthquakes located at depths greater than 20 are also recorded, than in the last hours continue to have a high magnitude ”. The good news is that there is no significant surface seismicity, which rules out the appearance of new eruptive mouths.

During at least the next 40 hours the northeast wind will predominate, which will dispose the ash cloud and sulfur dioxide towards the southwest of the eruptive focus (affecting towns such as Los Llanos, Tazacorte o Fuencaliente, three of the most populated points on the island. The expected position of the plume will, on the other hand, suppose “a favorable scenario, both for the operation of the La Palma airport and for the rest of the Canarian airports”, according to Pevolca. Air quality is good throughout the island, and it becomes very good in areas far from the area around the eruption. Arrival of fine ash on the island of El Hierro is not ruled out.