Live updates on the eruption in the Canary Islands
A volcano erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday causing nearby villages to be evacuated and isolated homes destroyed by lava.
At around 3pm local time huge plumes of lava were seen shooting from the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge, which scientists have been closely monitoring for the last week due to seismic activity.
Two hours later, with lava edging down the hillside from five fissures torn into the hillside, authorities ordered the evacuation of four villages, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane.
The outpouring of lava continued into Sunday evening as video footage posted online showed rivers of magma pouring into woods and farmland.
Victor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, said that around 5,000 people had been evacuated from their homes. Most, he said, had found family or friends to take them in. The rest were in shelters.
Around 5,000 evacuated as lava continues to flow
Authorities have evacuated about 5,000 people from villages on La Palma as lava continues spewing from an erupting volcano on Monday, local officials said.
The 15-meter high lava flow has already swallowed 20 houses in the village of El Paso and sections of roads, Mayor Sergio Rodriguez told TVE radio station on Monday morning.
It is now spreading through the neighbouring village of Los Llanos de Aridane where hundreds of houses are at risk, he said.
Local authorities have evacuated about 5,000 people from four villages, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane, and no further evacuation are likely to be necessary, Canary Islands regional president Angel Victor Torres said on Monday morning.
“The lava is moving towards the coast and the damage will be material. According to experts there are about 17-20 million cubic meters of lava,” he said.
No deaths were reported and none are likely to happen so long as no one behaves recklessly, vulcanologist Nemesio Perez said on Monday.
Pictures of the eruption
‘I was five years old when the volcano last erupted’
Local resident Isabel Fuentes, 55, spoke to Spanish television TVE about the eruption and said she has moved to another house for safety.
She said: “When the volcano erupted today, I was scared. For journalists it is something spectacular, for us it is a tragedy. I think the lava has reached some relatives’ houses.”
“I was 5 years old when the volcano last erupted (in 1971). You never get over a volcanic eruption.
Expert unsure how long eruption will last
Stavros Meletlidis, a doctor of volcanology at the Spanish Geographical Institute, said the eruption on the island had torn five holes in the hillside and that he could not be sure how long it would last.
He said: “We have to measure the lava every day and that will help us to work it out.”
Volcano erupts on Canary Island of La Palma after earthquakes, forcing thousands to evacuate
Thousands of residents fled their homes on Spanish Canary Island of La Palma on Sunday after a volcano erupted, sending lava shooting into the air and streaming in rivers towards houses.
Authorities had begun evacuating the infirm and some farm animals from nearby villages before the eruption, in the Cabeza de Vaca area.
Video footage showed fountains of lava shooting hundreds of metres into the sky, and at least three orange rivers of molten rock pouring down the hill, tearing gashes into woods and farmland, and spreading as they reached lower ground.
Tom Batchelor and Alastair Jamieson have the details.
Local residents and animals evacuated shortly before lava and huge plume of smoke rise high into sky
Hello and welcome to our rolling coverage of the volcanic eruption on La Palma on Sunday night.