The Navy begins the transfer of farmers in boats to irrigate the farms affected by the La Palma volcano


Finally the farmers affected by La Palma volcano have a solution to be able water their farms thanks to the transport of the Navy. Of the 600 farmers who have been affected by the cuts caused by lava flows, about 80 have started using this emergency system as of today to be able to carry out their tasks in the banana plantations of Los Llanos de Aridane. Access by sea saves workers several hours of circulation as they are not obliged to go around the island by road to complete the irrigation work or cut the fruit. Microguaguas take the banana trees from Puerto Naos to the farms through the service tracks that have been set up.

José Lago, Rear Admiral and Commander of the Canary Islands Naval Command, assures that this collaboration of the Navy has as its main purpose “solving” the communication problems that exist near the coast of the Aridane Valley.

Lago emphasized the fact that the Navy “is dedicated to helping.” In this sense, he made reference to the studies with “rigor and professionalism” that have been carried out on the coasts of the exclusion zone, from La Bombilla beach to El Remo beach, these being discarded, next to Charco Verde, and choosing by its conditions that of Puerto Naos.

“The area is not prepared so that civilian pleasure boats can safely disembark farmers,” explained Lago about the functions that they will have to undertake as of today. Thus, after verifying the suitability of the Port of Tazacorte, by the Tornado Maritime Action Vessel, divers from the Canary Islands Diving Unit and personnel from the Naval Beach Group also evaluated whether the operation could be carried out. In the end, Puerto Naos was chosen because it was “a safe and clean beach,” which allows farmers to disembark, Lago said.

Three will be the LTM-1E boats, with a load capacity of up to 70 tons and 170 marines, which have been converted to transport 80 farmers per trip, a number that responds to the needs of the irrigation communities of area. Taking into account that the travel speed can reach up to 20 knots, it is estimated that a trip between Tazacorte and Puerto Naos, or vice versa, can last about 15 minutes.

Rear Admiral Lago highlighted the response capacity of the Navy to put itself at the service of the requests of La Palma institutions and commented that “the day after receiving the request, a Naval Beach Group and the Tercio de la Armada were flying from the Peninsula.” , and also moving from Gran Canaria the Diving Unit.

Create shifts

The irrigation communities will be the ones that will have to inform, the day before boarding, of the list of farmers who need to be transported to the farms, and they will also be in charge of coordinating with the travelers the three frequencies planned during the day. “They will be first thing in the morning, at noon and at sunset,” the rear admiral explained. In addition, he insisted that the Castilla Amphibious Ship “will stay on La Palma as long as necessary”, until the Naval Beach Group, the unit responsible for the LTM-1E vessels, is installed and autonomous to operate from land. The main condition for carrying out these landing operations, as explained by the Naval Command commander, is “as always happens, the weather.” Regarding this, he added that in ideal conditions “there is no problem”, but the breaker on the beach can make disembarkation operations difficult for safety reasons.

«We start now or we are late»

Miguel Martín, president of the Palmera Association of Farmers and Ranchers, highlights that the collaboration of the Navy will allow workers to go regularly to their farms, “since it is not only watering and cutting,” he stresses because The cultivation of bananas requires very precise and continuous tasks that “either we begin to carry them out now, or we arrive late”, criticized Martín. The Cabildo de La Palma, for its part, does not renounce creating another accessibility system by sea in some other beach in the Aridane Valley, proposing to build a jetty in the Charco Verde to facilitate access to the coast. In this sense, it informs that there are open conversations with representatives of the College of Engineers of Canals, Roads and Ports, and together with the rest of the administrations, it works on projects in parallel to that of the Navy to facilitate access to neighbors and farmers to the coast, whose main land communication route was blocked by the advance of lava flows that reached the Perdido beach (Tazacorte). | RP

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