Thursday, October 28

The tunnel that separates routine from chaos on La Palma

From Santa Cruz de La Palma the volcano is neither seen nor heard. When the vehicles pass through the Cumbre tunnel from El Paso, they leave behind the cloud of ash that stains the sky and the incessant roars caused by the eruption of the Cabeza de Vaca area. Susana works in the municipal market in the capital. The division of the island reminds her of Game of Thrones. “This looks like Casterly Rock, and after the tunnel you get to Winterfell.” Although the crater cannot be seen from her home, she and her family do feel the consequences of the catastrophe. “We have felt some tremors, and in my work I see that people prefer not to spend money. Before in one day I could bill 600 euros, and these weeks we have fallen to 200,” he confesses.

The ash cloud from the volcano reaches Tenerife North and leaves La Palma airport inoperative this Friday

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Patricia works next door, who agrees that the number of visitors to the market has fallen since September 19. “Today has been even worse because the airport is inoperative,” he adds. The increase in sulfur and ash in the environment has caused the closure of the airspace on La Palma this Friday. In addition, in the last hours volcanic ash has also accumulated at the Tenerife North airport, affecting its operation during the morning.

As explained by the spokesperson for the Scientific Committee of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), María José Blanco, the ash fall at the Tenerife Sur and La Gomera airports during tonight is not ruled out. The airline Vueling has also announced this Friday that it is canceling all flights scheduled to the island for this weekend “due to difficulties in air navigation.”

The shopping streets of Santa Cruz de La Palma are full and the bar workers are not forced to free their tables from the ash every few minutes. The quality of the air offers a small truce and the sound of the cars replaces the explosions of the volcano that shake the houses of Los Llanos, El Paso and Tazacorte. Disorder reigns in these municipalities. ” This is unbearable. The air you breathe leaves a metallic taste in your mouth and I already notice a pain in my throat, ” says a worker at the Shell gas station in El Paso. María José Blanco insisted this Friday that the weather conditions are unfavorable for air quality, although it is expected to begin to improve as of tomorrow.

The technical director of Pevolca, Miguel Ángel Morcuende, explained that all the parameters that are monitored to monitor the volcanic eruption indicate that the eruption is still in a stable phase or “valley”. The lava already covers an area of ​​471.8 hectares, after a fork took place near the coast. According to the latest measurements, 120 hectares have been affected. Of these, 59.39 are banana trees, 33.43 are vineyards and 7.36 are avocados. Susana works in the market of Santa Cruz de La Palma and acknowledges that the sales of bananas and avocados from La Palma have fallen. “Some clients make me open the fruit to check that it is not damaged by the ash,” he says.

Meanwhile, the fajana has already reached the limit of the insular platform and it is foreseeable that it will continue its advance. If it does so at greater depths in the sea, the lava delta could generate a collapse of its front, which could be accompanied by the sudden release of gases, with magnetic explosions and waves, have explained from the Scientific Committee.

With the three weeks of the eruption coming to an end, the neighbors turn to help the rest, even those who have been left with nothing. ” It’s a way to keep your head busy. If not, you go crazy, ” says an evicted neighbor from the Jedey neighborhood.

The dean of the Official College of Psychology of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Carmen Linares, highlights that although life continues its course “on the other side of the tunnel”, in the municipalities that have not been affected by the volcano “the population He feels guilty for wanting to go see a natural phenomenon that harms his neighbors. ”

The days go by and the palm trees are getting more and more tired. As the volcano roars, they still do not wake up. They just hope that when silence falls, no one will forget about them. An El Paso resident hurriedly drinks his morning coffee. When he is done, he protects himself with glasses and an FFP2 mask and goes outside. ” Let’s see how we get out of this, ” he snorts.

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