James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
La Palma: Three more towns evacuated as volcanic activity intensifies
24 September 2021, 17:54
A further three towns have been evacuated on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma as a volcanic eruption there reached its fifth day.
Residents of the towns of Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and parts of Tacande de Arriba had just been told to stay inside.
However, authorities have now told them to evacuate amid as the volcanic activity intensifies.
The Cumbre Vieja volcano, which started erupting on Sunday, is continuing to produce explosions and spew out lava.
Videos have shown lava rolling through the streets of the island.
Already around 400 buildings have been destroyed, including many homes, on the western side of the island.
A European Union monitoring programme has said the lava stretches more than 440 aces and has blocked nine miles of road.
Two rivers of lava are continuing to move slowly down the hillside.
There were previously concerns the molten rock could produce explosions and toxic gases when it met the Atlantic, but now experts are doubting it will cover the remaining mile to the seafront.
However the two walls of lava are both over 33ft high and continue to destroy houses, farmland and infrastructure in their path.
Scientists say the flows could last for weeks or months.
Over the past week officials have recorded 1,130 tremors in the area, according to the La Palma government, as the volcanic ridge continues to shake with blasts of molten lava.
The blasts are sending ash almost 15,000ft into the air, the Guardia Civil police force said in a tweet.
Local authorities advised people to protect themselves from the ash with face masks.
La Palma has a population of around 85,000, but so far there have been no casualties.
Scientists had been closely monitoring volcanic activity and had warned of a possible eruption, allowing almost 7,000 people to be evacuated on time.