In the almost three months since the eruption began, the lava flows have caused great damage on the Canary Island. Is there an end in sight?
La Palma – With a duration of now 85 days, the volcanic eruption on La Palma since Sunday is the longest in the known history of the Spanish Canary Island.
So far, the eruption of the Tehuya volcano in 1585 with 84 days was considered the longest on the Atlantic island off the west coast of Africa. No reliable data is available on previous outbreaks. The activity of the as yet nameless volcano in the Cumbre Vieja has decreased somewhat in the past few days, but volcanologists still dared not predict when it could end. “The indicators point to a slowdown. The best news is that they are stable, ”said the President of the Island Council, Mariano Hernández Zapata, of the state TV broadcaster RTVE.
Damage in the millions
In the almost three months since the eruption began, the lava, which is more than 1000 degrees Celsius, has destroyed almost 2900 houses and other structures, as RTVE reported. Almost 1200 hectares were covered by a meter-thick layer of lava. That corresponds to almost 1700 soccer fields. More than 7,000 residents had to be evacuated, the damage is estimated at more than 900 million euros. In front of the coast, the cooled lava created two new headlands with a total size of around 50 hectares.
The banana cultivation, which is immensely important for the island and from which around half of the approximately 85,000 inhabitants live directly or indirectly and which was already in crisis before the volcanic eruption, was particularly hard hit. 225 hectares of banana plantations were destroyed and other areas were severely impaired, wrote the newspaper “El País”. The tourism sector is also lamenting losses. dpa