Las Manchas, the 'ghost neighborhood' that demands new services after the La Palma volcano eruption

The neighbors who remain evacuated from unaffected areas straight through the lava of the Tajogaite They are faced with the search for measures that can be brought to bear by returning to their homes. It occurs south of the streams, where gases are still present. They see how while the residents of Tacande and Tajuya have already returned and those of La Laguna are close to doing so, in Las Manchas they are still very aware that their situation changes. For them it will not be enough to clean the roads or the roofs of the houses. They will need new public services, as claimed by the president of the Las Manchas Neighborhood Association, Jenny Sánchez. He assures that those residents of the neighborhood where the volcano arose whose homes are still standing do not find answers to the questions that they transfer to the administrations.

Enclaves such as Puerto de Naos, El Remo or La Bombilla are in the same situation, all in Los Llanos de Aridane, to which "it is more difficult" to return, he says. "How are we going to return to those homes when we are without supply water and without access", he claims. He explains that, in addition, those who work in the Aridane Valley "would be unable to be in those places from Monday to Friday", because the routes that before the volcano were covered in 15 minutes now require 90. "The access we have is only for Fuencaliente and it is not viable, "he laments.

The youngest are in the same situation. For institutes and schools, "it would not be viable if we have to bring them to Los Llanos and El Paso" since, although there is school transport, the route is the same towards the Valley, and therefore, it takes almost an hour to reach the Secondary Education centers of Mazo or Breña Baja. Jenny Sánchez fears something unforeseen "and we have to move while living in Las Manchas." Assuming that "things are not easy, we must and want to demand a minimum of services to be able to return to the neighborhood."

The population of Las Manchas has many elderly people, so it demands an ambulance available in the area, the doctor's office and that the place be provided with some minimum services “to be able to be there with guarantees. Right now we are almost in a ghost neighborhood. With such a panorama, he maintains that "thinking about a relocation and return seems very difficult."

For this reason, he insists that the neighborhood association promotes a service project that it transfers to the corresponding administrations. To do this, they hold periodic meetings with municipal representatives in order to raise these advances, as well as with the Citizen Participation area of ​​the Cabildo. Sánchez hopes that with all these suggestions the adaptation of the neighborhoods will be undertaken gradually, so he insists that "with the current conditions, it is very difficult to consider a return for many neighbors."

The local economy

"The difficulties are tremendous," says the president of the association, who also refers to the state of businesses and shops that are in the area. In Las Manchas there are restaurants and bars whose workers, after completing their shifts, would have to make the long trips by road to return to the Aridane Valley. With the aggravating factor of the schedules that govern the activity of this sector.

Jenny Sánchez demands that all those details be taken into account "and to the people who right now cannot value that return, because it would not be viable." Despite this, he is aware that "there is more than one waiting for the relocation to begin and enter their homes", so he emphasizes the need to "start looking for all possible solutions to be there with comfort".

In this context, neighbors and administrations are obliged to analyze every detail "to try to ensure that no one can think that Las Manchas is being forgotten," says the neighborhood leader. "We approach each possibility, discarding them or making it possible to contribute to making the Las Manchas neighborhood the one we all want to be in." Sánchez announces the claim is "to put on the table the work done and projects" that provide the core with essential benefits.

Are solutions that also claim for those most affected, those who will not be able to return because they have nowhere else to do it, but who "want to build everything that was washed away." It is one more contribution with the purpose of diluting the difficulties that this segment of the population encounters today in the face of the current circumstances that affect these neighborhoods located south of the coladas.

In Puerto de Naos, El Remo or La Bombilla, a situation is very different from the neighborhoods that have already been relocated.


Cameras around the volcano

Meanwhile, control over the state of the volcano is maintained over the days after the activity ceases. For this, surveillance cameras, connected to the Civil Guard headquarters, are in charge of monitoring the entire perimeter of the Tajogaite streams. The Minister of Innovation of the Cabildo de La Palma, Gonzalo Pascual, explains that these photo-trapping elements were installed in the security perimeter as a dissuasive measure and to guarantee the safety of people in the exclusion zone, which continues to be controlled by the operation emergency, which continues to work in this space.

The island councilor defends that These are devices that have sensors equipped with a motion detector for taking day and night photographs, which activates the camera when anyone passes by its perimeter of scope. From the same camera, the images are sent to the Civil Guard. Gonzalo Pascual details that this measure is taken in collaboration with the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) to guarantee the safety of people and prevent the controls established in the different access points that are currently restricted by being next to the lava flows and the volcano cone itself.

Pascual recalls that, despite the fact that the eruption ended, the emergency continues and that the device continues to work in the affected areas to guarantee safe access for people who enter their homes or farms on a daily basis.

For all these reasons, the Cabildo asks citizens to respect the security measures established by the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca), which remain in force since Level 2 is still in force. Those interested in accessing the different affected areas to develop activities must request permission.

They robotize the San Antonio volcano telescope

The Fuencaliente City Council, in collaboration with the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), has begun the robotization works of the Solar Telescope located in the Visitor Center of the San Antonio Volcano. The Councilor for Tourism Promotion of the Fuencalientes City Council, Celia Santos, affirmed yesterday that the objective of these works is to proceed with the robotization of this observation instrument that is at the service of those who visit these tourist facilities in the municipality. It is through an agreement between the Fuencaliente City Council and the GTC that the consortium that directs the largest infrared telescope in the world has been involved with the tourism promotion of the municipality, in its commitment to science as a resource that generates economy and attraction of quality tourism. This collaboration between entities will also allow the recovery of the project to establish the first astrobibrary on La Palma, paralyzed by the pandemic, and which will be dedicated to instilling scientific values, mainly in primary school students. | LP


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