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Cumbre Vieja on La Palma in the Canary Islands has broken a five decade silence. Photo: Getty Images.
Cumbre Vieja on La Palma in the Canary Islands has broken a five decade silence. Photo: Getty Images.

Spain sees first Volcano eruption in 50 years

The lava advanced at 700 meters per hour and has already swallowed houses, crops and other infrastructure

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It had been 50 years since a volcano had erupted in Spain. Since Sunday, Sept. 19, the Cumbre Vieja on the Canary island of La Palma, has kept the population in suspense. Its eruption, some six meters high, expelled lava that advanced at 700 meters per hour — the speed at which humans walk — and has already swallowed houses, crops and other infrastructure in its path.

Just over a kilometer away is the municipality of El Paso, which has 7,600 inhabitants. So far, there have been no fatalities, although 5,000 people have been evacuated. However, the outlook is bleak for the thousands of people who have seen lava devastate their life projects.

The rivers of lava traveled to the sea with a flow of 20 million cubic meters, as reported by the President of the Canary Islands. The Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, has postponed a trip to New York to follow the details of the eruption from the islands.

In a public appearance, he has assured that the Government will assist all those who suffer economic losses.

The volcano has already emitted more than 20,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, but it has not prevented the airports from continuing to function due to a fortunate lack of wind. On the other side of the mountain, two accommodations have been improvised on soccer fields that accommodate the hundreds of residents who do not have family or friends to shelter them or have not found a hotel room.

Many residents are afraid because they do not know if the volcano will destroy their houses.

Before it erupted, the evacuations of the inhabitants of the nearby towns were almost complete. In the days leading up the to eruption, there were several informative talks so  the entire population of the island knew how to act when the volcano activated.

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