La Palma eruption: River of lava flows down hillside
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The eruption began on September 19 in the Cumbre Vieja mountainous area on La Palma. By the time it finished, it was the longest ever eruption on the island.
The scientific committee of the PEVOLCA emergency plan said the eruption officially ended in December after 85 days of chaos.
PEVOLCA Plan director, Julio Pérez said: “The eruption is over. It started in summer and ended in winter, it has been a volcanic autumn, literally.
“I have searched for the exact word that could define our state of mind. It is not joy, I cannot say that we are happy, and it is not satisfaction either.
“Today we feel relief. We can also add the word emotion, although we must also add the word hope.
“This unbearable litany of destruction has ended and now it’s time to rebuild, improve, remake and replace.”
He added that the emergency hadn’t ended yet and risks from gas and heat are still present in the area.
He said: “Surveillance and monitoring will continue through the area but we will start from Monday to study the rehousing plan, which will have a safe and orderly rehousing, gradual, in the least affected areas first and those most affected later.”
The eruption caused widespread destruction on La Palma and more than 7,000 people had to be evacuated.
According to emergency officials, 559 are still staying in hotels after being evacuated from the island.
Over 1,500 buildings were affected by the eruption, including 44 hotel and leisure buildings.
La Palma is a top tourist destination and many working in the industry have lost their livelihood.
La Palma’s airport was closed for nine and a half days although it was the airlines that decided not to fly.
In total, more than 500 flights to and from La Palma were cancelled due to the eruption.
Tui has announced it has cancelled all its flights to La Palma up to and including February 10.
It said: “We’ve unfortunately had to cancel all flights to La Palma up to and including February 10 2022.
“All impacted customers will be contacted directly to discuss their options. The next scheduled flight to La Palma is 17 February 2022.”
La Palma residents are now faced with the difficult task of rebuilding after the eruption.
One resident who lost her house to the molten rock told Spanish paper, El Pais: “The volcano has stopped erupting, yes.
“But this news has caused me a feeling of uncertainty. I ask myself what is going to happen to us once the volcano is no longer erupting and we are no longer important news for the media.
“Sadness, anxiety…I don’t know, it’s hard for me to describe it.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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