La Palma: Three more towns evacuated amid volcanic eruption

·2-min read

Holidaymakers in La Palma have been evacuated from three more towns on the Spanish island due to an volcanic eruption.

Tourists and residents in Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo were ordered to leave by Spanish authorities on Friday.

They were initially urged to stay indoors but later it escalated to an evacuation due to intensifying volcanic activity.

Firefighters were forced to retreat as explosions got more intense and airlines cancelled flights due to a huge cloud of gas and ash.

Videos shared on social media showed a massive shockwave emanating out from the eruption site.

Residents leave their house in La Mancha on the island of La Palma in the Canaries (AP)
Residents leave their house in La Mancha on the island of La Palma in the Canaries (AP)

Fire crews pulled out of clean-up work in the town of Todoque on Friday afternoon as a new vent opened up in the flank of the volcano.

“The volcano is in a newly explosive phase. Firefighters will not operate anymore today,” the Tenerife fire service tweeted after being deployed to help on La Palma.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano has spewed out thousands of tons of lava, destroyed hundreds of houses and forced the evacuation of thousands of people since it erupted on Sunday.

No serious injuries or fatalities have been reported but 15 per cent of the island’s economically crucial banana crop could be at risk, jeopardising thousands of jobs.

Local Canary Islands carrier Binter said on Friday it had cancelled all flights to La Palma due to the volcano eruption.

Spanish airline Iberia cancelled its only flight scheduled for the day and another local airline Canaryfly also suspended its operations.

Binter said in an statement it was forced to halt its operations to and from La Palma as the ash cloud produced by the volcano had worsened considerably in the last few hours.

The local airline, which had initially only cancelled night flights, said it did not have a time frame to resume operations.

A cloud of toxic gas and ash extends more than 2.5 miles into the sky, the Canaries volcanology institute said on Thursday.

It has begun to drift northeast toward the Mediterranean and Spanish mainland, the AEMET national weather agency confirmed.

Airspace above the island remains open apart from two small areas near the eruption site.

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