Coladas 8 and 10, which last Wednesday night joined to become just one, devastated in a matter of 24 hours with a total of 61 homes for residential use in the Llanense neighborhood of La Laguna. This north front slowed down its speed yesterday in front of the church of San Isidro after destroying the school, the pharmacy, shops, a banana packing plant, some paddle tennis courts, the gas station and part of society, as well as dozens of houses in this nucleus of 1,735 inhabitants, the most important of those affected so far by the La Palma volcano, which has already buried part of Las Manchas (1,558 inhabitants) and all of Todoque (1,516).
Advancement of the eruption
The evolution of this front follows the one desired by technicians and scientists who continue to monitor the eruptive process. At noon yesterday, the wash headed south of the Montaña de La Laguna, staying very close to joining with the wash number 7, which for four days has been practically stopped about 80 meters from the edge of the sea. In the event of this annexation, this last arm would again receive food that could push it to finally reach the ocean.
This possibility is preferred by the emergency services to the detriment of the solidified magmatic material overflowing north of the aforementioned mountain, which it would generate significant damage, especially in the banana plantations located in the La Costa area, within the municipality of Tazacorte. Given this possibility, the night before yesterday it was decided to evacuate some 150 inhabitants from the Las Martelas payments in Los Llanos de Aridane and Marina Alta, Marina Baja, La Condesa and Cuesta Zapata in Tazacorte. The Cabildo de La Palma reported that in case this scenario is fulfilled, the models suggest that the lava would surround the mountain of La Laguna until joining, also, with lavage 7 on the way to the sea.
These evictions have led to a increase in the number of affected people who sleep in accommodation establishments. The technical director of the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Emergency Care for Volcanic Risk of the Canary Islands (Pevolca), Miguel Ángel Morcuende, indicated during the usual press conference at two in the afternoon that the number of people housed now rises to 416, which means 47 more than the day before. Of these, 38 were transferred to the Hotel Teneguía Princess in Fuencaliente and another 9 to the Hotel Valle Aridane in Los Llanos. Morcuende stated that several of the people registered in these nuclei had already evacuated of their own accord, taking refuge in the houses of other relatives or friends. With this new evacuation, a total of 6,600 people sleep outside their homes due to the volcanic crisis, to which we must add 400 tourists who were evacuated and transferred to Tenerife on the first day of the eruption.
Up to 10 lava fronts
The current slowdown occurs after three days of authentic destruction due to the advance of the two lava fronts, the 8th -which affected the La Laguna Spar- and the 10th -which reached the school-, which have caused significant damage to buildings. Thus, the technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, stated that a total of 1,194 buildings had been destroyed as of October 20, 74 more than the previous day, according to the filtration carried out through the Cadastre. With regard to properties for residential use, he pointed out that they amounted to a total of 963, of which 61 had occurred in the last 24 hours. And is that the damage to homes that occurred on Wednesday was significantly higher than buildings for agricultural use, which increased by nine to 124; for industrial use, which increased by one to 57; and hospitality and leisure, which with two new buildings destroyed amount to 27. This data also includes one more for public use up to 10. In addition, as regards the affected area, it stood at 825 hectares at noon on Wednesday; 17 more than the day before.
The European Union Earth Observation Program Copernicus, For its part, yesterday published the data collected through its satellites in which it is indicated that until last Tuesday a total of 2,185 buildings destroyed – this system does not differ from homes, industrial buildings, implement rooms or cisterns. This figure represents a rise of 11.7% (226) compared to Sunday’s records. Likewise, this system estimated 866 hectares affected by the eruptive process that began on September 19, representing an increase of 6.8% compared to two days earlier.
The two northern lava tongues unite and head to the sea
María José Blanco, director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, emphasized the possibility that earthquakes of intensity VI may occur on the European Macroseismic Scale (EMS), which means that it is felt by the majority of the population that It is found in the interiors of buildings and, no matter how much they are in the exteriors, in addition to causing the fall of small objects and light damage in buildings. Regarding the data recorded during the last hours, Blanco pointed out that the number of earthquakes that occurred at depths greater than 20 kilometers had decreased and that the most important of those detected on Wednesday had a magnitude of 4.3 to 37 kilometers deep and an intensity of IV.
The air quality improved during the day yesterday with the gradual dissipation of the haze that has been present on the Island since last Saturday. Thus, except for this episode, the technical director defined the situation as “reasonably good”, although there are still areas where it is “regular” due to the presence, and less, of the Saharan advection. In any case, Morcuende once again recommended the use of FFP2 masks to all those people who are in the Aridane Valley and have respiratory problems and heart disease, as well as those who are near the washes due to the emission of gases.
Favorable weather conditions
Likewise, at the press conference, reference was made to weather conditions, which continue to improve thanks to the trade winds that even during the days of today and tomorrow they are expected to arrive accompanied by light rains. Morcuende explained that the rainfall will occur mainly on the north and east faces of the island, so it will not affect the Aridane Valley. In this sense, he recommended removing the ash from all the roofs of the buildings before the arrival of the rains since the water makes the fine volcanic earth gain weight and this can cause the roofs to collapse. The firefighters of the Consortium of Gran Canaria, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and La Palma yesterday cleaned the roof and gutters of the General Hospital of La Palma, located in the municipality of Breña Alta, before the arrival of the rains. This significant weather change will also allow the airport to continue operating normally for the next few days. The forecasts by the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) is that the trade winds will be dominant on the Island at least throughout the weekend.
The vice president of the Government of the Canary Islands, Antonio Olivera, pointed out after the Government Council held yesterday afternoon that 195 requests for Temporary Employment Regulation Files (Erte) have already been received, affecting 895 workers due to the volcano. He also pointed out that the 14 social workers who are in the Citizen Attention Office located in the Massieu House in Los Llanos de Aridane have already attended a thousand affected people and have been able to make 232 social files. These professionals have not only received those affected by the eruption in the office, but they have also moved to hotels, homes and residences in order to inform those who have lost their homes or are evicted of the aid they can receive.
Regarding the desalination plants, Olivera explained that the work to install them and thus supply water to the banana plantations in which it was not possible to irrigate because the pipes were damaged “continue to advance” as is the case with the Tomasso S tanker ceded by the state. The vice president, however, did not give an exact date on its entry into operation and limited himself to noting that “shortly they will be in a position to put water in the ponds.”
Miguel Ángel Morcuende was especially upset yesterday by what happened with the rescue of the four hound dogs that were trapped inside a water tank in the Las Manchas area. Although he had prepared a device to save the animals through a drone that was going to catch them with a net, last Wednesday those in charge of the operation found that the dogs were not inside the empty pond and full of ashes. Supposedly, one or more people reached the point where the hounds were on foot to take them after crossing the lava and leave behind a message on a sheet indicating that they are in good condition. In this sense, the technical director of Pevolca described the attitudes of certain people who skip the controls as “despicable”. «The exclusion zones of the different washes that we have on the Island are fundamentally set for the health of the people, they are places where there are gases, high temperatures are reached“Said Morcuende, adding that, in addition, these people” violate Pevolca’s first wish, “which is” to avoid the possibility of there being victims in this event. “