La Palma: Explosions Force Firefighters To Evacuate Residents & End Flights(Pix) – Foreign Affairs
HELL ON EARTH: LA Palma volcano explosions are forcing firefighters to evacuate terrified residents and cancel flights as toxic gas spews into the air.
Firefighters pulled out of clean-up work in the town of Todoque on Friday afternoon as a new vent opened up in the flank of the volcano.
According to Reuters, a huge grey cloud billowed from the top of the volcano – the largest since the eruption began on Sunday.
Airlines have had to cancel flights due to a cloud of gas and ash while authorities were forced to evacuate three more towns.
“The volcano is in a newly explosive phase … Firefighters will not operate anymore today,” tweeted the Tenerife fire service, which has been deployed to help on La Palma.
Authorities ordered the evacuation of the towns of Tajuya, Tacande de Abajo and Tacande de Arriba, forcing frightened residents to assemble at a local football ground.
Animals were also among those being evacuated.
“The evacuation of people is the main priority … although there are also other important tasks such as keeping pets safe,” the Guardia Civil tweeted, sharing a video of officers carrying reluctant goats to safety.
GET OUT NOW!
It comes as families were given just one hour to escape the red-hot lava gushing from La Palma’s volcanic eruption.
Terrified locals grabbed what they could before the magma devastates the town of Todoque as it made its way towards the Atlantic Ocean.
All 1,200 residents of the quiet town were ordered to leave their homes immediately because of the imminent danger to life and property.
Firefighters say they are powerless to stop it and can only hope that as few properties as possible will be swallowed up.
It comes as authorities warned that when the lava hits the sea, it will create explosions and clouds of toxic gases as it cools rapidly – causing further damage to the health and homes of locals.
The 1,000C lava will react with the mere 20C saltwater and produce a noxious “gas bomb” – that could result in acid rain, structural damage, and the destruction of the land.
An explosion of water vapour will occur, appearing as a dense white cloud, that can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
The acidic smoke could also drastically reduce visibility at sea, forcing the closure of the shipping area to the west of the island.
The volcano is continuing to spew out between 6,000 and 9,000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide each day, further exacerbating health fears.