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26 Nov, 2021 11:52

Lockdown lifted over danger worse than Covid

Lockdown lifted over danger worse than Covid

A lockdown imposed on the three coastal towns on the Spanish island of La Palma was ended on Wednesday, as officials announced that toxic fumes had partially dissipated amid the ongoing eruption from the Cumbre Vieja volcano.

Several days ago, officials mandated a lockdown for the coastal towns, telling residents to remain inside as lava reaching the ocean sent clouds of thick fumes into the air, threatening the health of citizens.

Miguel Angel Morcuende, the technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan, said the decision to end the restriction came after the cloud dissipated. However, he warned that individuals in coastal areas should still wear masks to “stay protected” and “prevent any problem.”

Despite the stay-at-home order being lifted, La Palma’s airport will remain closed, as workers attempt to remove tons of black volcanic ash that has covered parts of the runway. 

Carmen Lopez, from the National Geographic Institute’s geophysical monitoring program, warned that, unless the eruption begins to diminish, “it is most likely to keep affecting” the area’s ability to operate effectively.

La Palma is currently experiencing its longest eruption in 375 years, with lava flowing from the volcano for the past 67 days, with concerns that it is not showing signs of abating. 

Since the Cumbre Vieja volcano began erupting on September 19, it has covered over 1,000 hectares of land on the island, damaging or destroying around 2,700 properties and forcing thousands to flee from the territory.

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