La Palma eruption: Authorities urge calm as new river of lava threatens more destruction

·2-min read

A fresh river of lava began flowing from the La Palma volcano on Saturday, threatening more destruction on the Spanish island where more than 1,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed by the unstoppable streams.

The partial collapse of the volcanic cone overnight allowed a new lava stream to flow towards the ocean on a similar path down the Cumbre Vieja ridge towards the western shore.

Authorities said the new lava is flowing within the area that was hastily evacuated following the eruption on 19 September, when 6,000 residents were told to leave their homes and farms.

The latest stream of red-hot lava has engulfed at least four homes.

Jose Roberto Sanchez - who inherited his land in Todoque, on the west of the island, from his parents - told Reuters news agency: "The memories of my parents, the inheritance I had there, it's all gone."

Experts are closely watching the delta of new land being formed off the island's coast since the main lava flow reached the sea last week, emergency official Miguel Angel Morcuende said.

He warned parts of it could collapse, causing explosions and large waves, but said it would not pose a danger since the immediate area has already been evacuated.

"I ask for calm in this respect and to always be attentive to the indications of the authorities," he added.

Some 1,186 buildings have been destroyed on La Palma and 97 hectares (1,228 acres) have been covered with lava in the three weeks since the volcano erupted, according to the EU's Copernicus Emergency Management Service.

There were 37 seismic movements on Saturday, with the largest measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale, according to the Spanish National Geological Institute.

However, La Palma's airport reopened on Saturday after being closed on Thursday due to ash, Spanish air traffic operator Aena said. Tourists have continued to visit to witness the eruption.

Meanwhile, Clara Maria, 70, who also lives in Todoque, said: "The lava has not yet reached my house.

"(It) was 50 years of sacrifice, stone by stone, we built it. I have hope and faith that it will be saved."

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