Pain in Spain; National Disaster Slam La Palma


Kate Cohen, Writer

          A volcano on La Palma in Spain’s Canary continues to spew ash, lava, and smoke more than a week later. According to Aritz Parra from Ap news, in La Palma, over 500 buildings and 6,000 people were evacuated. Thousands have been evacuated to three coastal villages on September 27, 2021. Authorities say it’s too soon to declare the eruption phase finished.  The volcano took nine days to move into the Atlantic Ocean. Seawater poses a potential danger because toxic gas could be released and trigger explosions. With the volcano becoming hugely explosive overnight after being calm for a short period of time, authorities prepare for the lava to flow into the ocean. 

       The National Geographic institute detected that there were about six earthquakes in the area of erosion. In La Palma, there were over 21 miles of roads destroyed. There were no reported deaths or serious injuries with the early evacuation notice. The Spanish government announced that they would be providing a grant of $12 million to buy over 100 properties to provide housing and aid. 

       In La Palma, farming is the primary source of income, with extensive fertile grounds to grow avocados, papayas, bananas, and vineyards to supply grapes for the Canary Islands wine collection. There are over 1000 acres of banana plantations on the island, which provides over 10,000 jobs. 

      Farmers can ship over 1000 tons of bananas weekly from the island to the Spanish mainland and anywhere else in Europe. Many farmers had fears of their banana plantations being covered in ash, and the lava would destroy their land and sprinklers. Because of the volcano activity, it would make the underground water unusable for drinking and banana farming. Without the proper resources to repair agriculture, it proposes a significant health risk to the people. 

       Most of the local people have lost their homes and farms. Farming is a meaningful way for the economy to stay afloat on the island. With the lava and ash, most of the crops in irrigation systems have been ruined. Farmers feared going bankrupt due to the eruption. Tourism has also taken a significant hit due to the pandemic and the new uncertainties with the volcano. The uncertainty in La Palma frightens its citizens.