Lava Flow on La Palma is Approaching Ocean, 4,000 People in Lockdown for Fear of Toxic Gases

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On the west coast of the Spanish island of La Palma, 4,000 people are in lockdown. A lava flow from the volcano that recently erupted on the island is said to reach the Atlantic Ocean today and could cause explosions that release toxic gases.


Local emergency services are asking residents of the area to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.

The Cumbre Vieja on La Palma erupted on September 19. The lava flow has already destroyed hundreds of homes, schools and churches over an area of more than 230 hectares. 85,000 people live on the island, thousands of whom have already been evacuated.

The lava flow is now rapidly approaching the ocean. On Sunday evening, the lava was 1.6 km from the coast; that distance had already been halved by Monday morning. Along the way, the lava devoured the church of Todoque, among others.

If the red-hot lava flow of more than 1,200 degrees comes into contact with seawater, it is likely to cause explosions and also release toxic gases. Therefore, the local emergency services ask 4,000 people in the village of Tazacorte to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.

“The lava will probably reach the sea in the next few hours, and that could result in gases that are harmful to health,” the emergency services of La Palma report via Twitter.

Air traffic is also continuously monitored; just like last Saturday, several flights were cancelled this morning because there was too much ash in the air. Meanwhile, the sky has cleared up a bit, and the volcano is less active. However, if the situation continues, air traffic will resume this afternoon, local airline Binter reports.

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