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The Westfield Voice

Thousands Forced to Evacuate as Volcano Erupts on Spain’s La Palma Island


A volcano on Spain’s Cumbre Viejo mountain range erupted on Sunday, forcing over 6,000 residents of the Canary Islands to evacuate. 

The mountain range on the Spanish-owned island off the coast of West Africa experienced its first eruption since 1971, sending a flow of lava down through the countryside. The lava is now closing in on more populous areas, including the cities of El Paso and Las Llanos de Aridane. Both cities have evacuated their citizens.

Since the eruption began, more than 183 houses have been damaged by the flow of lava. Over 6,000 of the island’s 85,000 residents have been evacuated as well. 

According to Angel Victor Torres, the President of the Canary Islands, the total damages have already amounted to more than €400 million, or about $470 million. Torres also stated that authorities plan to ask the European Union for aid in order to rebuild. 

The eruption has been attributed to multiple earthquakes in the area. Monitoring of these earthquakes allowed officials to evacuate some residents before the lava began to flow. 

The lava is moving at around 0.07 mph and is expected to reach the sea on Tuesday, according to officials. 

It is estimated that the lava has covered 103 hectares of land so far. No casualties have been reported. The biggest effect on residents has been property damage, as many people have lost their homes or businesses.

Temporary shelters have been set up for displaced residents of cities such as El Paso and Las Llanos de Aridane.

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