La Palma volcano eruption forces some residents to stay home By Reuters

© Reuters. The Cumbre Vieja volcano continues to erupt on the Canary Island of La Palma, seen from Tacande, Spain, October 2, 2021. REUTERS / Borja Suarez

LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) – Authorities told several thousand La Palma residents to stay home due to worsening air quality as the erupting volcano on the Spanish island spewed thick, red-hot lava clouds of black smoke.

Emergency services issued a lockdown order Friday night for people in Los Llanos de Aridane and El Paso, two of the worst affected towns.

“The new blockade is a consequence of meteorological conditions … that prevent the dispersion of gases and keep them at low levels in the atmosphere,” the emergency services said in a statement. They said the shutdown would affect about 3,500 people.

Those affected have been told to keep doors and windows closed and to turn off the heating and air conditioning to prevent outside air from entering.

Closures had already been ordered in the San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa areas.

Approximately 6,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since the Cumbre Vieja volcano began to erupt on September 19.

More than 800 buildings have been destroyed on the island, which has a population of approximately 83,000 and is part of an archipelago that forms the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.

On Friday, lava flowed from a new vent in the volcano, which The Instituto de Volcanología de Canarias describes it as a new “eruption focus”.

The volcano was experiencing “intense activity,” Miguel Ángel Morcuende, director of Pevolca’s response committee, said at a news conference on Friday. But he also put the eruption in the context of the larger island.

“Less than 8% of the island is affected by the volcano. The rest lead a normal life,” he said.

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