La Palma woke up yesterday with a new slap, the umpteenth, of the Cumbre Vieja volcano that already fulfills 23 days spitting lava almost non-stop. The first rays of the sun gave way to a desolate landscape with a double front of lava, both derived from the fracture that occurred at dawn last Saturday in the north of the crater, which advanced between noon on Saturday and two in the afternoon of yesterday two and a half kilometers, burying a large part of the industrial park of Los Llanos de Aridane, and the neighborhoods of El Callejón de La Gata and the few houses that had been left standing in Todoque, which yesterday marked two weeks since its neighbors they saw how their church was engulfed by volcanic material. One of the two colada was diverted between the mountains of Todoque and La Laguna in the direction of the sea, although, at the end of this edition, it had slowed down significantly and it was located half a kilometer from the cliff. The forecast is that for the next few hours or days it will continue on its way until it reaches the water, thus generating the second of the fajanas, this time at the height of Los Celemines Viejos and about 600 meters north of the delta of Guirre beach.
The virulence of the explosions that shook the buildings of the Aridane Valley, accompanied by a river of incandescent stones that forked into several branches, barred a complicated morning. In the neighborhood of La Laguna, some residents kept awake on the sidewalks of the road to follow the evolution of a volcano that, to a greater or lesser extent, has disrupted their daily routine. Around three in the morning, a middle-aged man sitting in the loading area of a pick-up van received the news that the lava was at the doors of the Clean Point of Los Llanos de Aridane, sweeping behind him with a large part of the El Callejón de La Gata Industrial Estate. The neighborhood that receives the same name had suffered the same fate: the wash that for more than ten days had given a long truce to about thirty houses had been reactivated and buried practically all the houses built on both sides of the county road. This same language, at that time, engulfed the Todoque pharmacy with its 1,240 degrees Celsius and walked towards the sea. “There is my house,” said this neighbor sadly. “If it is that I cannot do anything, if it were a fire I could try to put it out with a hose, but against this we cannot do anything,” he added to show that this phenomenon of nature is unstoppable.
In the distance, over the summit, the volcano was relentlessly spitting magmatic material that with its rows painted the sky orange along the more than four kilometers of length of the new north stream. The mess he was creating behind him wouldn’t be visible until dawn, when, with the natural light, La Palma first verified that Todoque had been erased from the map. If the previous wash took practically half of the neighborhood two weeks ago, the one formed during the last two days finished burying the neighborhood. They also saw how the other wash located further north had also destroyed a large part of the industrial zone and thus threatened new inhabited areas such as Los Campitos.
The rapid advance of the volcano also opened a new escape route for the lava, which was introduced by the valley between the mountains of Todoque and La Laguna. At noon, huge rocks walked unopposed at a pace of more than 50 meters per hour towards the sea, taking away dozens of banana plantations and some homes in Cabrejas. The forecast indicated that during the afternoon a new fajana would be produced with its arrival at sea. On the other hand, the lava abruptly stopped its advance and at the end of this edition it was about 500 meters from the cliff, in the area of Los Celemines Viejos.
A strong smell of sulfur reached the nearest houses in the La Laguna neighborhood with this language. Already in the morning, dozens of people in the area loaded furniture, clothing and other belongings into trucks as a preventive measure. “What do you think is going to happen?” Asked a man to everyone who passed by while he helped his brother to fill the small Seat Marbella with which they had already made three trips from the Camino La Aldea. Faced with the possible presence of gases – the lava is currently walking a kilometer away from this payment – both decided to leave the house.
José María Brito, from this same path, preferred to wait to see how the volcano advanced. The mayor of El Paso, Sergio Rodríguez, recommended that he at least have some clothes already packed before a possible evacuation. “For the moment I’m going to stay,” he points out, at the same time that he pointed out that he had “everything ready” in case he had to leave his house in the country located on the slopes of the north face of the mountain of La Laguna. Brito pointed out that she also had a house in El Paso where she could spend whatever days were they if she was finally evicted from her home.
Both Brito and Rafael Díaz, one of her neighbors, remembered the night that had passed, “one of the worst since the volcano began,” she indicated. “I do not think it was the worst, it was one more night,” said Díaz, who detailed that the explosions made “vibrate the foundations, the doors, the windows, everything vibrated” despite the fact that the main mouth of lava is located about 4 miles as the crow flies from your home. The same happened in Los Llanos and El Paso, the two main population centers of the Aridane Valley, where the neighbors slept with the incessant roar of the volcano that, at times, were confused with seismic movements due to its power. However, during the last two days there have been 214 earthquakes in the area affected by the volcanic reactivation of Cumbre Vieja, of which 19 have been felt by the population, as reported yesterday by the National Geographic Institute (IGN).
The advance of the two new fronts has also expanded the affected area to 525 hectares, 28 more than last Saturday, and the maximum width of the Cumbre Vieja volcano pouring in reached 1,520 meters yesterday, as indicated by Miguel Ángel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), and María José Blanco, director of the IGN in the Canary Islands. As for the data on affected buildings, these were not updated and remain at 1,281, of which 1,186 have been destroyed.