October 16, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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Lava from a volcano on the Canary Island is already flowing into the Atlantic Ocean

A stream of lava flowing from the La Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma has begun to pour into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, prompting volcanologists’ concerns about the possible release of toxic gases.

The regional government of the Spanish archipelago has banned entry within two nautical miles from where lava is expected to enter the Atlantic Ocean, and on Monday asked residents around Tazacourt not to leave their homes.

Scientists warn that “when the magma enters the sea water, a reaction occurs that causes the escape of fumes that can be toxic.

“Inhalation or contact with acidic gases and liquids may irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract and cause breathing problems, particularly in people with pre-existing respiratory conditions,” warned Miguel Angel Morquindi, technical director of the Office of Volcanic Emergency Planning (Pivolca). ).

Lava destroyed hundreds of homes

La Palma Island has been declared an area affected by a natural disaster due to the effects of the volcanic eruption. Molten rock has so far scorched more than 258 hectares of the island’s surface and destroyed 589 properties, according to the European Union’s Earth Watch program known as Copernicus.

The Spanish government allocated, on Tuesday, 10.5 million euros to help the victims of the explosion, especially for the purchase of homes or apartments for those whose homes were submerged in lava. Government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez said that five million of this amount is for the purchase of homes, and the rest is for the purchase of furniture and essential household supplies.

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The eruption of the La Cumbre Vieja volcano required the evacuation of more than 6,000 people from their homes, but there were no reports of injuries or injuries so far.

The island of La Palma survives mainly on banana cultivation and tourism.