Lava forces 800 to flee on La Palma
LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands – Hundreds of people in Spain’s Canary Islands feared for their homes and property Wednesday as a new river of lava from an erupting volcano threatened another neighborhood on the island of La Palma.
Island authorities ordered the evacuation of about 800 people from the coastal town of Los Llanos de Aridane on Tuesday after the lava took a new course on its way to the Atlantic.
It was the first mass exit since about 6,000 people were told to leave the immediate area in the hours after the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Sept. 19. No large evacuations were needed in the following three weeks.
But on Tuesday, volcano scientists found that a new lava flow to the north of the main river of molten rock had branched off and was heading toward an inhabited area outside what had previously been the evacuation zone.
“A part of the neighborhood had already been evacuated, but given the evolution of the lava stream, it was deemed necessary to clear this specific zone,” Los Llanos de Aridane Mayor María García told Spanish state broadcaster TVE.