Monday, March 4

The residents of the populations that continue to be evacuated by the gases of the volcano of La Palma lose patience

Puerto Naos Y The light bulbtwo coastal towns in the Aridane Valley (The Palm) that were evacuated on September 19, 2021 when the volcano in Cumbre Vieja, they are still deserted today and their neighbors have begun to lose patience. Not only the inhabitants, but also the merchants and workers of one of the two most important tourist centers on the island, who have not been able to return since the volcano began to spit lava more than a year ago.

Puerto Naos, the ghost tourist center that is still trapped by the gases of the La Palma volcano

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Now rocks and fire no longer sprout from the bowels of the earth, but gases do: colourless, odourless, but very dangerous and can kill a person in a few minutes. Since the eruption began, these emissions have been monitored and it has been verified that little has changed in these months, making these two towns a very dangerous place for life. Some records have shown very high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases that, together, create an “explosive” atmosphere, as Brigadier Esteban Morán, from the Reserve and Security Group Number 8 of the civil Guard.

The latest update report on the volcanic activity at Cumbre Vieja from the Scientific Committee of the La Palma Emergency Plan (Peinpal) issued this Monday indicates that “since December 13, the post-eruptive phase continues, in which some volcanic hazards persist. , without being possible to rule out future reactivations. Anomalous seismic and geochemical activity continues to be recorded, without having reached background levels in the observables.

He adds that “anomalous levels of CO2 are maintained, both in Puerto Naos and in La Bombilla and in the area of ​​the volcanic building, as well as the high temperatures and instabilities of the ground in the latter area. The same maritime exclusion zones for navigation continue: 200 meters from the front of the lava deltas and 450 meters in the area between the north and south deltas”.

The committee concludes that both in Puerto Naos and La Bombilla, as long as the CO2 levels are not within the exposure limits considered usual for the general population, “for a principle of precaution, prudence and prevention, it is advisable to keep the area vacated , allowing access according to the official protocols established by the person responsible for managing this emergency at the current level and previously presented to this Committee”.

outrage among neighbors

However, despite the danger, the evacuated neighbors and workers ask to be able to return or, at least, to be given a solution, since they are in limbo when it comes to receiving aid because they have not materially lost their homes or businesses, but they can’t access them either. Their patience has reached the limit and, after several protest mobilizations, this Saturday they threatened to take legal action against the Cabildo de La Palma and the administrations responsible for “the continuous and disproportionate denial in the return of these areas.”

In their meeting, held at the Casa de la Cultura in El Paso, the neighborhood group addressed “laziness, abandonment and lack of information for almost a year, as well as the irregular decree that, once again, recommends without prohibition access to businesses and homes that, first-hand, the residents themselves have confirmed that there are no lethal CO2 gases for life”.

A neighbor, arrested for skipping the ban

This Monday there was the first arrest related to the breach of the evacuation order in Puerto Naos. Agents of the Civil Guard belonging to the main post of Los Llanos de Aridane arrested a 37-year-old man for “repeatedly” disobeying the instructions of the agents regarding the prohibition of permanence in the area for security and health protection reasons. .

It was on Sunday when, according to the Civil Guard, this person was identified by the agents when he arrived in a vehicle to the access control to the area delimited by the risk of gas emanation in Puerto Naos. Then, adds the Benemérita, she informed the agents of her intention to access and spend the night at her home, in the middle of a health risk area.

After reminding him of the prohibition (Decree 112/2018, of July 30, which approves the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Emergency Attention due to volcanic risk in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands), the man “ignored” up to four occasions of the instructions and recommendations of the agents, who urged him to leave his home and leave the risk area. According to the Civil Guard, without leaving his home, this neighbor insisted that he was going to spend the night in his house and that he considered that his life was not in any danger.

Already this Monday, when he finally came out, he was arrested as the alleged perpetrator of a crime of serious disobedience. The competent judicial authority has decreed the defendant’s release on charges.

an access protocol

Meanwhile, the Advisory Committee of the Emergency Plan of La Palma (Peinpal) has also approved this Monday the access controlled by sectors to the evacuated homes. This system will be divided into four zones in Puerto Naos and four in La Bombilla so that each of them can be accessed every day with qualified personnel and gas meters, as reported by the institution.

The president of the Cabildo palmero, Mariano Zapata, explained that it will be launched from next week, when “these accompaniments will begin to be carried out, which is another example of the commitment and effort that the Cabildo continues to develop.” The accesses that are going to be established in La Bombilla will cover approximately 30 homes.

The neighborhoods will be divided into sectors, to which a color will be associated. Depending on the area, color and gas levels, residents will be allowed to enter their homes. The accompaniments will be carried out by the Volunteer Firefighters of La Palma with assisted breathing equipment and professional meters to maintain the safety of people at all times.

The neighbors and neighbors who are in the indicated areas must previously request the QR to access through from this link.