The evacuation of 160 people from three neighborhoods in La Palma this Friday has occurred due to the risk of a partial or total collapse of the volcanic cone. According to the spokesperson for the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) and director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, María José Blanco, this would generate high-speed flows that could expand laterally, reaching areas that were not previously evacuated. Faced with this situation, the Pevolca scientific committee decided to evacuate the areas that the scientific committee estimated could be affected: the part of Tacande de Arriba not evacuated, Tacande de Abajo and Tajuya.
DIRECT | Follow the last hour of the eruption of the new volcano on La Palma
Most have stayed in the homes of family and friends, twelve have been transferred to a hotel in Fuencaliente and ten people with functional diversity were evacuated to the El Fuerte barracks (Breña Baja).
The cause of this possible scenario occurred around 1:00 p.m., when an increase in the seismic signal was registered to levels that were not reached even on the night of September 21-22, when the cone ruptured. main event of the Cumbre Vieja eruption. As more violent processes emerged than those detected in recent days, it was initially decided to confine populations in areas near the volcano. “It was a solution consisting of being inside the houses, with the windows closed and the doors closed and protected against possible breakage of the glass,” clarifies Blanco.
But when this decision was made, it was found that two new mouths had appeared on the skirt of the volcano that emitted lava “of great speed and fluidity,” said Blanco. Given the possibility that they would mark an opening of a fracture that would join the two emission centers and destabilize a sector of the main cone, the eviction was decided.
The director of the IGN in the Canary Islands has illustrated that for now the volcano has two emission systems, which are separated from each other by a small distance and that emit very similar lava, very fluid and on top of the previously emitted lava. These emission centers release pressure as long as they do not produce any fissure that destabilizes the system, which can emit waves like those produced this Friday.
“The dangers that the population would face if the volcanic cone were to collapse would be lava flows of high temperature and gas content, not very viscous and can jump over topographic obstacles”; the ballistic fragments would also have a greater range and there would be a dense ash fall. But of all these scenarios, the worst would be the collapse of the volcanic cone.
The technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Moncuerde, details that the confinement order was considered adequate because an increase in the intensity of the volcano had been detected, which is reflected with an increase in the projection of pyroclasts with a larger than usual size that can cause damage. “It is an interesting emergency and civil protection solution for cases like this,” he added. But just when the order was issued for Tacande de Arriba, Tacande de Abajo and Tajuya, there was a huge rise in the intensity of the volcano “and” the most logical thing “was to decide to evacuate.
It was decided that approximately 160 people are out of their homes to continue monitoring the movement of the volcano who are working against the safety of the citizenry. Probably within 24 hours we will be able to have a clear follow-up and we will know if this peak that we have reached around 3:20 p.m. has been reached again throughout the night, but without the people of the evicted neighborhoods having to suffer the consequences of this. sudden sudden intensity of the volcano “, has specified Moncuerde.
The technical director of Pevolca has remarked that the eruption is a dynamic phenomenon and adaptation is necessary, having the safety of people as the main objective. Therefore, it is recommended to be aware of Pevolca updates.