«I never thought I would get to La Laguna»

A incessant rain of ash struck yesterday against La Palma tree surface, in an unusually hard day in this sense. The emergency personnel who were coordinating the entry of people to their homes tried to protect themselves in multiple ways, while insisting on recommending to people the use of FPP2 or higher masks and protective glasses to avoid greater evils. Many of them were staring straight ahead, at the dense column of smoke that gushed from the volcano, as if they wanted to stop the eruption with their thoughts. The one they never imagined would threaten their lives. The cafeteria conversations, the huddles of fathers and mothers, the conversations between friends in recent days had the same direction: no one expected that the laundry further north than those on this Cumbre Vieja would reach La Laguna. It has been another important blow to the morale of the palmeros after the Todoque symbol.

Manuel Martín has his house and a banana farm in this neighborhood of Los Llanos de Aridane and, after having collected souvenirs, three engines that he had in his plantation and various belongings, yesterday he returned to collect his irrigation hoses and other objects from the interior. of your home. "All this has been a surprise," he insisted, visibly affected. His parents could also lose their lifelong home if the lava decides to follow its path of destruction through the channel it is currently on. "I just want it to end once and we can start from scratch, if we have to, but not continue with this unease," he said.

Throughout the morning, and before the emergency coordination decided to cut off access to the town due to the danger posed by laundry approaching the gas station, the dripping of neighbors was incessant. Most of them were very saddened, with fatigue in their eyes after so many days of uncertainty, fear and despair. Around 1:30 p.m., the stations sounded in unison with a clear order: everyone who was already in the payment had to leave it and the entry of new people was prohibited. A little later, a more grayish smoke rose on the roofs of the houses as the lava engulfed the service station and advanced through the back of the neighborhood association.

Manuel Martín insists on the need for everything to end "at once" in order to turn the page


Before this, an English couple living on La Palma for two and a half years managed to enter their house, which they bought just four months ago. With reddened eyes, and the bitter smile typical of helplessness, they affirmed that they would collect some of the things they had in the house, since they hoped that the lava could destroy it soon, when they found themselves on the path they seem to have taken. "We moved to the island for the good weather and the quality of life, but we have encountered the destruction of the volcano", said the man, for whom the Isla Bonita continues to be the place where he wants to live despite the eruption. "We will stay here, for sure," he concluded before leaving for the place where they are staying.

A Veteran neighbor who claimed to have experienced the three eruptions of the last century on La Palma: the one from 1949, the one from 1971 and this one from Cumbre Vieja. Despite his extensive experience, he regretted that this was being the hardest, not only because this time his life has been directly affected, but also because it has been the most devastating and lasting of the three. "If he has something to believe in, pray to him that this ends at once and we can get on with our lives," he said. His life-long home, the one in which he built his life and that of his children, is now threatened, so there is no consolation for this man or the rest of his family. In fact, his wife did not accompany him because he could not bear the idea of ​​never seeing his house again.

Another man who arrived at almost two in the afternoon was forced to wait to see if they would let him into the neighborhood, along with a dozen other vehicles that were waiting on the LP-213 highway, a little further south of the LP roundabout. -21 that bypasses Los Llanos. "I want to go in and look for some roosters that I left at my house because I did not sense that I would have to never return to it," he lamented. Like the rest of his neighbors, he could not conceive that the laundry would reach the neighborhood. "After Todoque, La Laguna is another of the important neighborhoods of Los Llanos and seeing it fall will be very painful for everyone, but we have to get up because at least we have life left," he argued.

Transport from Gran Canaria

The escort service in emergencies, Of which the members of the different security and protection bodies that work on the ground in La Palma are part, it is in charge of entering the neighborhoods with the neighbors so that they can recover their things with the greatest possible guarantee of security. In recent days, with the laundry threatening the nucleus of La Laguna, an average of between 250 and 300 vehicles a day have come to the neighborhood to recover belongings, animals and souvenirs that they could not take when leaving in the middle of the evacuation of the area. In addition, they are not only in charge of ensuring the protection of those who enter the exclusion zone, but they also provide them with psychological care if required and several trucks and vans are available to those who do not have enough space in their cars to load with certain items of greater volume.

In addition to the emergency vehicles themselves, Neighbors from other parts of La Palma and the Archipelago have also made their own vans available, and themselves as drivers, to help as much as possible these people to recover part of their furniture. One of those supportive people came a few days ago from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with his small van, with which he has accompanied many people to collect part of his life. Just yesterday, he did it with two women who were in a utility vehicle that was not big enough for them to take some larger appliances. Both with tears in their eyes, they were also accompanied home by a Red Cross social worker, who gave them emotional support in the face of the misfortune they were experiencing. And it is that all help is little at the moment.

Between 250 and 300 vehicles enter La Laguna daily to collect belongings, animals or souvenirs


This man and a relative, natives of the capital of Gran Canaria, decided to take advantage of a few days off from work to go to La Palma and "be there where we are needed." On Monday, for example, they were in charge of organizing food and solidarity donations from the people in a large industrial warehouse in El Paso. In that sense, he assured that "a lot of help is lacking, this is a real disaster." And not only monetary, but also psychological. "We went the other day to help a boy take things out of his house, but he blocked himself and did not want to pick up anything, he said it was not necessary because the laundry was not going to attack his house, so we ended up leaving with nothing" , he recounted. A situation that well demonstrates the level of stress that residents affected by Cumbre Vieja are going through.

The ash continued to fall in the early afternoon, with increasing intensity, as darkness spread through the La Laguna neighborhood. While the lava devoured the gas station, many were still waiting to be able to pass to save something of their memories, without knowing that perhaps they were not going to see them again. It is the drama that hits La Palma every day.


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