The families were given just one hour to escape the red-hot lava emanating from the volcanic eruption of La Palma before it swallowed everything in its path.
Before magma devastated the city of Todok, panicked locals grabbed it as it makes its way toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Officials warned that when the lava hits the ocean, it will explode and produce clouds of toxic gases as it rapidly cools – causing further damage to local people’s health and homes.
1,000C of lava would react with a mere 20C of salt water and produce a harmful “gas bomb” – which could result in acid rain, structural damage and land destruction.
There will be an explosion of water vapor that appears as a dense white cloud, which can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
Acidic smog can also significantly reduce visibility at sea, forcing the closure of a shipping area to the west of the island.
The volcano is emitting between 6,000 and 9,000 tons of sulfur dioxide every day, raising health concerns.
But now the giant wall of lava is aiming directly at Todoc in the municipality of Los Llanos de Ariadne, and is moving at a speed of 120 meters per hour.
All 1,200 residents of the quiet city have been ordered to leave their homes immediately due to the imminent threat to life and property.
Firefighters say they are powerless to stop it and can only hope that as little property as possible will be swallowed up.
A church, blocks of flats, a school and a series of modern villas with pools are all set to be submerged in lava in a matter of hours.
A spokesman for the consortium said, “The reality that we are seeing every day as we do our job as firefighters on the island of La Palma is harsh and it is difficult for us to restrain the impossibility of nature slowly executing. “
“We will continue to work in such conditions with a churning of the stomach, hoping that the damage will be as minor as possible.”
Miguel ngel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan, said it was not clear whether the lava would hit the ocean later today or tomorrow.
It will be slowed down by “obstacles in its path” – one of which is Todok.
The relentless lava flow has now displaced more than 6,000 people, many of them taking shelter in shelters.
In an update on the impending doom, Cabildo de la Palma’s councilor for the environment, Borja Perdomo, explained: “Lava has buried more than 500 meters of track.
“Lava flowing from the La Palma eruption has already claimed 190 homes, which represents an increase of 24 over the past few hours.”
He described the situation as “not safe” on Spain’s La Palma island today after several small earthquakes triggered a “new eruption”.
A new volcanic vent, where the first eruption occurred on Sunday, about 3,000 feet north, opened after yesterday’s 3.8 magnitude earthquake.
After the initial eruption, small earthquakes struck the island, warning officials that another eruption was likely.
Because of this warning, more than 6,000 people have been evacuated – avoiding hundreds of devastating casualties.
Meanwhile, hundreds more have been forced to flee as lava continues to erupt from the erupted volcano.
We will continue to work with churning in such a situation, hoping that the damage will be as minor as possible.
Streams of hot molten rock from La Cumbre Vieja volcano swallowed swimming pools and homes in hellish scenery as it ripped through El Paso.
According to the Canary Islands Volcano Institute, the invincible force of nature was blowing at 700mph with temperatures exceeding 1,000C on Monday.
At least 166 homes were destroyed and 6,000 people were evacuated after Sunday’s eruption, before a new flood of lava broke out late Monday after the volcano opened a new vent.
It has already destroyed banana plantations, a school and hundreds of homes in El Paso.
Although the total loss cannot be predicted, regional leader ngel Victor Torres said it would easily exceed the €400 million threshold needed to qualify for aid from the EU.
Shocking video footage shows a river of orange-topped volcanic rock mercilessly escaping from homes and locks as it makes its way toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Angel Victor Torres, the head of the Canary Islands government, told SER radio: “There will be considerable material damage,” he said. “We hope there will be no personal injuries.”
So far, no casualties or injuries have been reported as magma spread through the sparsely populated area of La Palma.
The island’s president urged people to stay away from the “dark” area, explaining that the lava wall “is consuming homes, infrastructure”. [and] Crops on the way to the coast”.
Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has come under fire after encouraging tourists to enjoy the “amazing show” – as thousands of residents lost their homes and property.
“There are no restrictions on visiting the island,” she told Spanish radio.
“On the contrary, we are providing information so that tourists know that they can visit the island and enjoy something unusual, see it for themselves.”
Volcanologists fear the eruption could continue for weeks to come, while it is estimated that 10,000 people could be evacuated in the coming days.
Locals have been asked not to enter the ‘danger zone’ yet, to keep windows and doors shut and to turn off water, gas and electricity sources.
People are encouraged to keep their phone and battery-operated radio on at all times and those who have animals should follow evacuation guidelines.
Canary Islands regional president Angel Victor Torres said Monday morning that four villages are the main source of concern – including El Paso and Los Llanos de Ariadne.
About 500 tourists were rescued from a hotel in the coastal resort of Puerto Naos and offered emergency accommodation in an old barracks in Santa Cruz.
The British government has issued a warning to vacationers planning to commute to and from a luxury vacation destination last week after a volcano erupted and showed signs of activity.
Advice for Brits
The UK government said last night: “On Sunday 19 September 2021, at approximately 15.15 pm local time, there was a volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary island of La Palma.
“The immediate area of Cabeza de Veca, El Paso, has been evacuated.” If you are in an affected area you should follow the advice of local authorities, including social media updates from Caballdo de la Palma.
“You are encouraged to contact your tour operators and airlines if you plan to visit the island soon.”
The eruption came after a week of seismic activity, in which nearly a thousand people have been evacuated from their homes.
Science and Innovation Minister Diana Morant said: “There is still no scientific answer on how long the eruption of La Palma will last”.
However, after analyzing the lava and gases, she said: “we speak of a period of between one and three weeks”.
An earthquake of magnitude 3.8 was recorded prior to the eruption as vibrations from the seismic activity were felt on the surface.
Roads were closed due to the blast and officials urged curious people not to venture into the area.
La Palma has a population of 85,000 and is one of eight islands in the Canary Islands of Spain.
Last week Spain’s National Geographic Institute said it had detected 4,222 aftershocks around the island of La Palma, which scientists are calling a swarm of earthquakes since last Saturday.
An earthquake swarm is a group of earthquakes in an area over a short period of time and may indicate an impending eruption.
Nearly 1,000 earthquakes have struck the islands since last Saturday.
On Tuesday, the regional government of the Canary Islands placed the island on a yellow alert for the eruption.
The last eruption on the Canary Islands took place under water off the coast of El Hierro Island in 2011 and lasted for five months.
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