LA PALMA UPDATE: more earthquakes over night, eruption continues, 166 buildings now gone
The lava flows continue to crawl relentlessly towards the sea destroying everything in their path, as another new ‘mouth’ of the volcano opens spilling lava, and an earthquake measuring above 4 on the Richter Scale is felt by the public of La Palma early this morning.
The EU Sentinel 1 satellite has sent images back from space that shows the lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano now covers an area of 106 hectares and is now just a few kilometres from reaching the sea, a moment that will be crucial in the evolution of the eruption because toxic gases will be released.
At around 4am this morning (Tuesday), satellite images have shown that the main tongue of the lava has destroyed a total of 166 homes and over 300 pieces of agricultural land, but officials fear that up to 1,000 homes will be lost by the time this is over. In total there are now 6,000 evacuees due to the eruption, and in many cases, they have lost their homes and only have a single bag of belongings with them.
Those affected who have not been able to stay with family and friends have had to travel to the evacuation centres, which were activated on the island after the eruption, and hotels and members of the public have also offered to accommodate them.
The good news from yesterday was that the speed of the descent of the lava flows dropped to 300 metres per hour, less than half of what it was, although their danger remains extreme, and in the next few hours, it will finally reach the coast.
According to data, the temperature of the lava has risen to 1,100 ºC and experts fear that when it comes into contact with the water, it will release a large amount of toxic gases that will flood the island of La Palma, but the fact it is moving more slowly will be a benefit for the rate they are produced.
Days after the eruption of the volcano, the earth continues to shake and last night a quake of 3.8 degrees shook the ground and opened the 9th ‘mouth’ of the volcano for lava to spill from. This was followed by another earthquake of 4.1 degrees early this morning in the area of El Paso, and another of 3.2 degrees just after 6am. It has also been announced that the maritime exclusion zone is being expanded from two to three kilometres around La Palma due to the danger of the volcanic eruption.
The Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, is still on the island and visited families affected by the eruption who have lost the homes they have lived in their entire lives. In a press conference, he said: "The volcano continues to be active and we have to take extreme precautions. All of Spain is with La Palma and you will receive all the resources of the state to alleviate the harsh situation that looms over the island.”