Canary Island Volcano Eruption Continues for Sixth Day

Officials on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma say the Cumbre Vieja volcano continued to erupt Friday, spewing lava and ash, and threatening the homes and livelihoods of the island’s 85,000 residents.

Pictures and drone video taken of a single home that was surrounded but spared by the advancing lava has made it a symbol of the natural disaster that began Sunday.

The Associated Press, citing a European Union monitoring agency, reports nearly 400 buildings have been destroyed by the advancing lava flow, including homes, businesses and banana plantations.

The manager of the island’s banana producer’s association, Sergio Caceres, told the Reuters news service about 15% of La Palma’s 140-million-kilogram annual banana crop could be at risk if farmers are unable to access plantations. 

 

There was a single giant lava river 600 meters wide, moving quickly across the island. Officials say that changed Wednesday after reaching a plain, but lava continues to move at about four meters an hour. They say as it slowed, the lava grew thicker, rising as high as 15 meters. 

Experts originally had predicted the lava would hit the Atlantic Ocean early this week, but National Geographic Institute in the Canary Islands chief María José Blanco said the lava flow likely will not reach the Atlantic Ocean before the weekend, with some scientists saying it might never reach the sea. Blanco said there is a second lava flow that has come to a complete halt. 

Blanco said seismic activity on La Palma was now “low” but molten rock is still being thrown out of the volcano — 26 million cubic meters so far.

Officials said earlier this week the island may be dealing with the eruption and its aftermath for as long three months. 

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters. 

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