Volcanic eruption on La Palma: Airport and schools closed

Status: 02.11.2021 2:21 p.m.

Because of the volcanic eruption on La Palma, the airport has to stop operating again. In addition, 22 schools remain closed because the air quality on the Canary Island is deteriorating.

On the Canary Island of La Palma, the authorities have closed the air traffic again because of the volcanic eruption. Due to the large amounts of volcanic ash, all flights to the Atlantic island off the west coast of Africa have been canceled for the time being, the airport operator Aena said.

In addition, 22 schools were closed because the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air was too high in some parts of the Canary Island, reported the state TV broadcaster RTVE, citing the authorities.

2,700 buildings already destroyed

The ash ensures that the air quality deteriorates day by day. The authorities measure too much sulfur dioxide, a toxic gas that can irritate the human mucous membranes. Most recently, residents of five localities were asked to only leave their homes in an emergency. Anyone who has to go outside should wear an FFP2 mask and protective goggles.

Since the beginning of the volcanic eruption on September 19, the lava, some of which has a temperature of almost 1,300 degrees, has destroyed or damaged more than 2,700 buildings. Already 975 hectares are covered with a layer of lava several meters thick. More than 7,000 residents had to be brought to safety. Experts cannot say exactly when the outbreak will end.

Volcanologist Stavros Meletlidis warned shortly after the eruption that nature was unpredictable. “There are outbreaks that end after nine days and those that last for years,” he told local TV in mid-September.

Island experiences tourism boom

The sometimes dangerous situation did not deter vacationers from traveling to La Palma. Hotels, pensions and holiday apartments together have around 12,500 places for vacationers. Around 10,000 of them were booked in the past few days – an occupancy rate of 80 percent.


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