UPDATED 1:45 PM PT – Friday, October 22, 2021
Spanish authorities updated the world on the latest destruction caused by the La Palma volcano. Officials have continued to relay that there have been no injuries or deaths from the eruption.
However, over 2,000 buildings have been destroyed by an excess of 80 million cubic meters of ash and lava. In addition, around 2,000 acres of land have been entirely engulfed by lava.
“One day it’s exploding there, the other a vent opens here, it’s just anguish and living in fear, waiting and praying for it to stop erupting,” said Culberta Cruz, a local who has been living with her husband and dog in a small caravan on a parking lot. “And it’s a lot of sadness for those who lost their homes.”
La Palma is one of Spain’s Canary Islands that sits in the Atlantic Ocean. The volcano on La Palma was considered one of the most active of the islands after more than 22,000 seismic shocks were felt leading up to the eruption. Many residents said they weren’t expecting it.
“This has been very stressful, especially for the elderly and for my generation that has never experienced this,” said one resident on the island. “My parents didn’t go to the information center, they came to our house. Now we are waiting for information from authorities to see what we do in the next hours.”
Thousands of people remain evacuated in La Palma, Spain as the volcano continues to devastate communities – close to 2,000 buildings have been destroyed since the first eruption a month ago. WCK's Relief Team is preparing daily meals for families impacted & local responders. pic.twitter.com/7hDdeKBoRh
— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) October 20, 2021
Authorities said residents would continue to face the dangers from the volcano in the coming weeks. Additionally, scientists have said the flows of lava could last for weeks and possibly months.
“Historical records show eruptions lasting 24 to 84 days…it would be logical to assume something within those bounds, but we cannot risk [predicting] anything,” said Carmen del Fresno, from the National Geographic Institute’s volcano monitoring department.
On the first day of October, more destruction was feared as lava begun flowing out of two new vents from the volcano. Rivers of molten rock slid downhill from the new fissures, flowing along a more than 50-acre path into the Atlantic Ocean.
Lava has continued to spew over one month after the volcano first erupted, prompting the evacuation of more than 6,000 people. Residents have been asked to wear eye protection and face masks against heavy falls of volcanic ash, with some even carrying umbrellas.
“We don’t know when it’s going to stop, that’s the problem. This is nature and we have to deal with it, it’s bigger than us,” said Cruz’s husband, Tono Gonzalez.
In the meantime, Spanish officials have vowed to provide aid to the island after recently assessing the damage done exceeds $460 million.