La Palma Volcano Eruption Forces Stay-Home Order for Some Residents

By Reuters
October 2, 2021 Updated: October 2, 2021

LA PALMA, Spain—Authorities told several thousand residents of La Palma to stay home because of worsening air quality as the erupting volcano on the Spanish island spewed red-hot lava and thick clouds of black smoke.

Emergency services issued a lockdown order on Friday night for people in Los Llanos de Aridane and El Paso, two of the worst affected towns.

“The new lockdown is as a consequence of the meteorological conditions… that prevent the dispersion of gases and keep them at low levels of the atmosphere,” emergency services said in a statement. They said the lockdown would affect around 3,500 people.

Those affected have been told to keep their doors and windows closed and to disconnect heating and air conditioning to prevent outside air from entering.

Lockdowns had already been ordered in the areas of San Borondon, Marina Alta, Marina Baja, and La Condesa.

About 6,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since the Cumbre Vieja volcano began erupting on Sept. 19.

More than 800 buildings have been destroyed on the island, which has a population of about 83,000 and is one of an archipelago making up the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.

On Friday, lava flowed from a new vent in the volcano, which the Canaries Volcanology Institute described as a new “focus of eruption”.

The volcano was experiencing “intense activity”, Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca response committee, told a news conference on Friday. But he also put the eruption into the context of the wider island.

“Less than 8 percent of the island is affected by the volcano. The rest is leading a normal life,” he said.

By Miguel Pereira, Juan Medina, Marco Trujillo, and Jessica Jones