- The airport on the Spanish island of La Palma has reopened to commercial traffic after being banned.
- The authorities allowed some of the evacuees to take their belongings from their homes.
- But the danger is not over yet.
And the Spanish Airports Authority, Aina, tweeted that La Palma airport returned to work after closing on Saturday due to heavy rains of volcanic ash that covered the runway.
However, no planes were expected to arrive at the airport on Sunday. Five airlines have already canceled their daily flights to La Palma due to the ash cloud. Volcanic ash is dangerous to aircraft engines.
Danger was not avoided
For a week, the volcano on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, spewed ash, smoke, rocks and lava – the devastation is massive, and volcanologists can’t predict an end. State TV station RTVE reported on Sunday that it could last for weeks or even months.
Pope Francis prays for those affected
Pope Francis has expressed sympathy with those affected. During the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, the pope said he was close to all those who felt the effects of the explosions last week “especially those who had to leave their homes. We pray for those affected and for those who are helped ».
No one has been hurt yet, but the lava, which has a temperature of about 1,000 degrees Celsius, has burned and crushed 461 buildings on its way toward the sea since Sept. 19, including 300 well-to-do apartment buildings. About 6,200 people had to be brought to safety. Many of them had nothing left. “All I still have is in this bag,” said Maria Lorena Brito Rodriguez, 46, of El Mundo newspaper. Lava also destroyed her home below the volcano.
Government promises to help
The volcano located in the Cumbre Vieja region in the south of the island does not have an official name yet. The black lava mass, which is up to 15 meters thick, will take months to cool. It has already buried 212 hectares under itself, the equivalent of about 300 football fields. There would be no construction or farming there for decades, the island’s main source of income. The regional government estimates the damage to the island of 83,000 people at at least 400 million euros.
Meanwhile, the willingness to help is great. RTVE reported that there are so many in-kind donations for volcano victims that it is difficult to store them. This is why there is already a waiting list for those willing to help. Most of the evacuees stayed with relatives or other private homes on the island. Those who were initially transferred to the barracks were distributed to the hotels. The authorities want to start building alternative housing as soon as possible. On Tuesday, the government in Madrid wants to declare the island a disaster area at a cabinet meeting. Then remedial measures can be taken more quickly.
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