La Palma volcano news: Flights cancelled, 100 homes destroyed by lava and thousands evacuated

© AFP via Getty Images PRI200734533.jpg

LIVE – Updated at 08:04

Thousands of people have been evacuated, homes have been destroyed by lava and flights have been cancelled after a volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday.

One hundred homes have been destroyed as the lava continued to flow on Monday in two streams through a mostly unpopulated area.

Authorities have already evacuated about 5,000 people from villages and the 15-metre high lava flow has already swallowed 20 houses in the village of El Paso and sections of roads.

Local airline Binter said today it cancelled four flights to and from the island of La Gomera, that neighbours La Palma, due to the eruption.

Canary Islands government chief Angel Victor Torres told SER radio: “There will be considerable material damage,” he said. “We hope there won’t be any personal injuries.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has arrived on the island today after canceling his trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

Key Points

  • Volcano erupts on Canary Island of La Palma after earthquakes, forcing thousands to evacuate
  • Burning lava destroys at least 20 houses after villages evacuated
  • Flights cancelled as eruption continues
  • Tourists evacuated to Tenerife

Graph: Eruption’s amplitude across first day

Monday 20 September 2021 17:26 , Joanna Taylor

The Canaries Volcanology Institute has shared a graph showing the progression of the amplitude of the volcano’s eruption.

The red line marks the start of the eruption, recorded by the Canary Seismic Network, while the green line shows the amplitude’s gradual decline over time.

“The volcanic tremor is a very reliable indicator of energy released by Strombolian activity, that is, by the small explosions taking place in the crater of the volcano,” the institute wrote.

Evolución de la amplitud del tremor volcánico durante el primer día: siguiendo en directo la intensidad de la erupción ➡️

— INVOLCAN (@involcan) September 20, 2021

Volcanic eruption seen from space

Monday 20 September 2021 16:56 , Joanna Taylor

The volcanic eruption on La Palma was picked up by a weather satellite orbiting the earth, NASA has said.

The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite caught a “bright glow” during the eruption.

The Joint Polar Satellite System, a partnership between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shared an image of the moment.

Overnight, #SuomiNPP caught sight of the bright glow of the volcanic eruption on #LaPalma in the Canary Islands, seen in the center of this image. Nearby, you can see the nighttime lights of Tenerife & Gran Canaria. The volcano began erupting Sunday & thousands have evacuated.

— Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) (@JPSSProgram) September 20, 2021

Spanish politicians praise ‘strength’ of locals

Monday 20 September 2021 16:22 , Joanna Taylor

President of the Canary Islands Ángel Víctor Torres has visited people affected by the volcanic eruption in La Palma.

Mr Torres thanked care workers on the island for their “great work” in response to the eruption and praised the “strength” of locals who were affected.

He shared photos of his visit alongside Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez to Twitter.

Esta mañana he visitado a las personas afectadas por la #ErupciónLaPalma junto a @sanchezcastejon, Grande-Marlaska, @AnselmoPestana y @Marianohzapata. Gran labor del dispositivo de atención en Breña Baja. España y #Canarias volcadas con #LaPalma. Mucha fuerza.

— Ángel Víctor Torres Pérez (@avtorresp) September 20, 2021

Tourist describes ‘horrible’ moment eruption happened

Monday 20 September 2021 15:36 , Joe Middleton

Eva, a 53-year-old tourist from Austria who was visiting the island described eruption as “horrible”.

She said: “We felt the earthquake, it started in the morning … Then at 3 in the afternoon the lady from our house came and said you have to pack everything and leave quickly.”

“We’re happy to go home now,” she said at the airport, before boarding a flight back home after cutting her trip short.

Spanish PM praises scientists for monitoring eruption

Monday 20 September 2021 15:11 , Joe Middleton

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited the affected area in La Palma on Monday after cancelling a trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

He praised scientists for monitoring the eruption, saying their work was “fundamental” in avoiding casualties.

Mr Sanchez also promised that his government would help local people rebuild their lives.

Pictures of drone footage showing the lava flows

Monday 20 September 2021 14:41 , Joe Middleton


Lava hitting flowing into the sea could trigger toxic gases

Monday 20 September 2021 14:22 , Joe Middleton

Lava flowing from a volcano and into the sea could trigger toxic gases and reduce visibility at sea, experts have said.

The Canaries Volcanology Institute said on Sunday that when the lava reaches the sea, it could create a cloud of toxic gases as the molten rock cools rapidly.

Anticipating reduced visibility, maritime authorities have on Monday closed down shipping in the area to the west of the island where they expect the lava to reach the water.

Smoke continues to stream from La Palma volcano morning after eruption

Monday 20 September 2021 13:52 , Joe Middleton

Smoke continued to fill the air and fires burnt on the morning of Monday (20 September) following the eruption of a volcano on Spain’s La Palma island.

Lava was flowing on the Spanish Canary island, moving at 700 meters per hour according to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute.

In the above video, fires can be seen burning in shrubland as the molten lava makes its way downhill from the crater and towards the sea. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has delayed a trip to the UN General Assembly in New York to visit the island on Monday.

© Provided by The Independent

Watch: Smoke continues to stream from La Palma volcano morning after eruption

Volcano eruption is a ‘great show’ claims Spanish minister

Monday 20 September 2021 13:28 , Joe Middleton

The Canary Islands are safe to visit and a volcano eruption there is a “wonderful show”, Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto today.

His comments come after 100 homes have been destroyed by lava flows and 5,000 people, including hundreds of tourists, had to be evacuated.

“The island is open,” Maroto told Canal Sur radio, calling the eruption “a wonderful show”.

“There are no restrictions on going to the island … on the contrary, we’re passing on the information so tourists know they can travel to the island and enjoy something unusual, see it for themselves,” she said.

Maroto’s remarks drew immediate criticism from Teodoro Garcia Egea, secretary general of the opposition People’s Party, who posted an article on Twitter quoting the minister and asked: “Can someone confirm the minister said that while hundreds of people are losing everything they have?”

There have been no deaths or injuries from the eruption but 100 homes have been destroyed by lava flows.

About 360 tourists were evacuated from a resort in La Palma following the eruption and taken to the nearby island of Tenerife by boat on Monday, a spokesperson for ferry operator Fred Olsen said.

Up to 9,000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide emitted per day

Monday 20 September 2021 13:05 , Tom Batchelor

Experts monitoring the eruption say that between 6,000 and 9,000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide is being released each day from at least two open mouths which are belching bright red magma into the air.

The first estimate of the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted into the atmosphere by the #volcanic #eruption on #LaPalma is of the order of 6,000 – 9,000 tons per day #volcanology ➡️

— INVOLCAN (@involcan) September 20, 2021

Earthquakes continue to be felt in La Palma

Monday 20 September 2021 12:44 , Tom Batchelor

Spain’s National Geographic Institute (IGN) has recorded several more earthquakes on La Palma on Monday morning, the strongest being a 3.0-magnitude tremor at 6.34am local time near the town of El Paso.

In addition, 2.8-, 2.4-, 2.2- and 2.0-magnitude quakes have also been detected this morning.

© Provided by The Independent Locations where earthquakes have been recorded during the recent seismic activity (IGN)

Volcanology Institute to measure sulfur dioxide

Monday 20 September 2021 12:28 , Tom Batchelor

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute is preparing to measure sulfur dioxide in the area around the eruption as well as the chemical composition of the plume of smoke, gas and dust that is hanging in the air.

— INVOLCAN (@involcan) September 20, 2021

100 houses destroyed by lava

Monday 20 September 2021 11:59 , Joe Middleton

Around 100 houses have now been destroyed by the eruption in the Canary Islands.

The lava flow is currently heading towards the sea and has destroyed a number of properties as it has swept through villages.

There have been no reported injuries or deaths from the eruption at the moment, officials confirmed today.

Nemesio Perez, scientific co-ordinator at the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said: “The lava probably won’t take any lives but it will destroy everything it encounters.”

Additional reporting by Graham Keeley in Madrid

Town mayor describes ‘wall of lava’ as military increases deployment

Monday 20 September 2021 11:39 , Joe Middleton

Mariano Hernandez, the major of the town of Cabildo, described the scene in the area affected by the lava as “bleak.”

He said a wall of lava 6 meters (20 feet) high “is consuming houses, infrastructure, crops in its path to the coast,” state news agency Efe reported.

The Military Emergencies Unit is increasing its deployment on La Palma to 180 soldiers and 57 vehicles, backed up with three water-dropping aircraft due to arrive later on Monday.

Pictures show house on fire due to lava

Monday 20 September 2021 11:20 , Joe Middleton

© Provided by The Independent A house burns due to lava from the eruption of a volcano (REUTERS)
© Provided by The Independent Lava flows behind a house as the eruption continues on Monday (REUTERS)

Tourists evacuated to Tenerife

Monday 20 September 2021 11:05 , Joe Middleton

A group of 360 tourists who were evacuated from a beach resort in La Palma have been transferred to the nearby island of Tenerife by ferry on Monday morning, a spokesperson of ferry operator Fred Olsen said.

Another 180 tourists, also part of that group of over 500 tourists evacuated as a precaution from the resort in Puerto Naos, could be evacuated to the archipelago’s biggest island later in the day, the spokesperson added.

Monday 20 September 2021 10:41 , Joe Middleton

Lava flow ‘heading to the sea’

Monday 20 September 2021 10:21 , Joe Middleton

Lava is flowing on the island of La Palma toward the sea, moving at 700 meters (2,300 feet) per hour, according to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute.

The lava was moving in two streams through a mostly unpopulated area, Canary Islands government chief Angel Victor Torres told SER radio.

Watch live as lava spews from volcano on Spanish island La Palma

Monday 20 September 2021 10:00 , Joe Middleton

A volcano on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma is currently erupting, sending streams of lava and a plume of smoke and ash into the air from the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island.

Thousands of residents are fleeing their homes and authorities had already begun evacuating the infirm and some farm animals from nearby villages before the volcanic activity had begun.

No injuries have been reported thus far but at least three streams of lava have been seen pouring from the crater and making their way down towards the sea.

© Provided by The Independent

Watch live as lava spews from volcano on Spanish island La Palma

Burning lava destroys at least 20 houses after thousands evacuated

Monday 20 September 2021 09:48 , Joe Middleton

Burning lava from a volcano which erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma has destroyed at least 20 houses as it streamed through villages towards the coast.

About 500 tourists were among the 5,000 people who were evacuated from the path of the molten lava which poured in rivers towards houses and hotels in villages in the Cumbre Vieja national park in the south of the island.

Authorities said on Monday that at least 20 homes, some of them rental properties for tourists, had been engulfed by the lava in the village of El Paso.

Graham Keeley in Madrid has the latest

© Provided by The Independent

La Palma volcano: burning lava destroys at least 20 houses after hundreds evacuated

Flights cancelled as eruption continues

Monday 20 September 2021 09:36 , Joe Middleton

Canary Islands’ local airline Binter said on Monday it cancelled four flights to and from the island of La Gomera after a volcanic eruption projected ashes and smoke on the neighbouring island of La Palma.

The airline, which had released footage of the smoke and ash plume on Sunday afternoon, said the cancellations are a consequence of the eruption.

Monday 20 September 2021 09:20 , Joe Middleton

Around 5,000 evacuated as lava continues to flow

Monday 20 September 2021 09:06 , Joe Middleton

Authorities have evacuated about 5,000 people from villages on La Palma as lava continues spewing from an erupting volcano on Monday, local officials said.

The 15-meter high lava flow has already swallowed 20 houses in the village of El Paso and sections of roads, Mayor Sergio Rodriguez told TVE radio station on Monday morning.

It is now spreading through the neighbouring village of Los Llanos de Aridane where hundreds of houses are at risk, he said.

Local authorities have evacuated about 5,000 people from four villages, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane, and no further evacuation are likely to be necessary, Canary Islands regional president Angel Victor Torres said on Monday morning.

“The lava is moving towards the coast and the damage will be material. According to experts there are about 17-20 million cubic meters of lava,” he said.

No deaths were reported and none are likely to happen so long as no one behaves recklessly, vulcanologist Nemesio Perez said on Monday.

Pictures of the eruption

Monday 20 September 2021 08:46 , Joe Middleton

Lava flows next to a house on Sunday night (REUTERS) A masked man watches on as lava spews from the volcano (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Lava flows downhill following the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja national park at El Paso (REUTERS) Firefighters at the scene as smoke billows from the volcano (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

‘I was five years old when the volcano last erupted’

Monday 20 September 2021 08:31 , Joe Middleton

Local resident Isabel Fuentes, 55, spoke to Spanish television TVE about the eruption and said she has moved to another house for safety.

She said: “When the volcano erupted today, I was scared. For journalists it is something spectacular, for us it is a tragedy. I think the lava has reached some relatives’ houses.”

“I was 5 years old when the volcano last erupted (in 1971). You never get over a volcanic eruption.

Monday 20 September 2021 08:12 , Joe Middleton

Expert unsure how long eruption will last

Monday 20 September 2021 08:07 , Joe Middleton

Stavros Meletlidis, a doctor of volcanology at the Spanish Geographical Institute, said the eruption on the island had torn five holes in the hillside and that he could not be sure how long it would last.

He said: “We have to measure the lava every day and that will help us to work it out.”

Volcano erupts on Canary Island of La Palma after earthquakes, forcing thousands to evacuate

Monday 20 September 2021 07:59 , Joe Middleton

Thousands of residents fled their homes on Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday after a volcano erupted, sending lava shooting into the air and streaming in rivers towards houses.

Authorities had begun evacuating the infirm and some farm animals from nearby villages before the eruption, in the Cabeza de Vaca area.

Video footage showed fountains of lava shooting hundreds of metres into the sky, and at least three orange rivers of molten rock pouring down the hill, tearing gashes into woods and farmland, and spreading as they reached lower ground.

Tom Batchelor and Alastair Jamieson have the details.

© Provided by The Independent

Volcano erupts on Canary Island of La Palma after earthquakes


Monday 20 September 2021 07:57 , Joe Middleton

Hello and welcome to our rolling coverage of the volcanic eruption on La Palma on Sunday night.

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