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#LaPalma: More than 6,000 evacuated as Canary Islands President declares La Palma Catastrophe Zone and requests EU assistance

#LaPalma: More than 6,000 evacuated as Canary Islands President declares La Palma Catastrophe Zone and requests EU assistance

The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has requested that European solidarity funds be activated during a meeting with the Cohesion and Reform Commission. Torres, taking into account the harsh realities on the island, has formally requested aid to act immediately, following the start of the eruption of the volcano last Sunday.

In the meeting, held via video link, with Elisa Maria da Costa Guimarães Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, the Canarian president explained that the conditions have been met on the ground and qualify for these funds, since in the case of outermost regions the damage caused must account for 1% of the community’s GDP, that is to say €400 million, and “it is clear” that will be exceeded.

“One of the conditions for requesting aid is that 1% of GDP in losses is met, which is 400.00 million euros in the case of La Palma, an amount that will be broadly exceeded due to the damage caused by the volcano”, asserted the president.

“These aids will serve to alleviate the destruction of public infrastructures, such as roads, educational centres, hydraulic networks and for temporary accommodation such as those we need for the evacuated people. We have also requested aid for agricultural funds because right now La Palma is a catastrophe zone”said President Torres.

“The priority now is to avoid personal injury, so we ask the population not to approach the volcano or the lava, but also to respond to the drama of people who have lost their homes, land and jobs due to the eruption,” he said. the President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres.

He added that the Canarian Employment Service is looking for mechanisms to help people who have lost their livelihoods.

Residents in the area of the Tacande, in the municipality of El Paso, have had to be evacuated after a ninth mouth opened in the eruption of La Palma on Monday night.

So far 6,000 people, including about 400 tourists, have been evacuated from the area of the eruption, and there are already 183 properties, half of which are registered as homes, and about 200 other types of infrastructure, such as outbuildings, swimming pools or tennis courts, affected by the catastrophe, and so far not one injury reported.

The volcanic eruption, which started last Sunday, has two fissures separated by about 200 meters and at least nine eruptive mouths. A new mouth emerged in the vicinity of the town of Tacande, in El Paso, last night, which has forced evacuations to expand.

According to the information received by Pevolca, the steering committee of the Special Protection Plan against Volcanic Risk of the Canary Islands, a new mouth in the volcano opened about 900 meters from the main one, from which the population has been asked to also move away.

Lava slows down and its arrival to the sea is delayed

This Monday, the movement of lava slowed and so it did not reach the sea as quickly as predicted. The change of pace towards the coast was accompanied by a decrease in tremors, but technicians have warned that it does not mean a reduction in eruptive activity, especially taking into account that this is the beginning of a volcanic event.

This new eruptive mouth led the Cabildo de La Palma to close several highways (LP 211 Todoque; LP-212 Tacande; LP-213 Puerto Naos; LP-215 Tazacorte-La Laguna; LP 2 at the height de Tajuya and restrictions on the LP-3 La Cumbre).

Meanwhile, the director of the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan), Nemesio Pérez, has explained that it is still possible that new lava emission points may appear in the eruptive zone. The expert explained that “a significant superficial seismicity” is still taking place, and it could generate new eruptive mouths, along the main fissure which opened last Sunday, as the eruption began.

According to Pérez, the eruption “continues its course within normal behaviour” expected, but the difference with other previous eruptions is that in this case it is in an inhabited area.

It should be noted that the island has registered several small earthquakes, at least two have been felt by the population, according to reports from the National Geographic Institute (IGN).

Solidarity and aid for the victims
Solidarity is also making its way on La Palma and there have been many videos and photographs of the humanitarian deployments that are arriving. The work has been extraordinary on the ground with 540 personnel belonging to the Guardia Civil, the Policia Nacional and the Military Emergency Unit (UME). Likewise, the deployment provided by local and regional authorities amounts to around another 650 people.

One notable initiative is that of the renowned chef José Andrés, who headed to the beautiful island to distribute food with his NGO World Central Kitchen, with which he has fed thousands of people affected by natural disasters around the world.

Meanwhile, the Government of Spain has also activated the Insurance Compensation Consortium to make available a free telephone number and a website, to those affected by the La Palma volcano, where they can expedite the processing of damages caused by the volcanic eruption.

In the press conference after the Council of Ministers, the Government spokeswoman, Isabel Rodríguez, also reported that talks have been held with banks to make vacant properties available to evacuees, an initiative that has had a good response.

 

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