Lava from La Palma volcano burns cement plant, causing lockdown

LA PALMA, Spain, Oct.11 (Reuters) – A blast of glowing lava erupting from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma engulfed a cement plant on Monday, raising a thick cloud of smoke and prompting authorities to order people in the region in confinement.

Local emergency services have asked residents of the towns of El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane to stay indoors and close their windows, blinds and air conditioning units to avoid inhaling toxic fumes from the factory on fire as it was gradually swallowed up by lava.

“Lock yourself, if possible, in the most interior rooms,” said the emergency service via its Twitter account.

Miguel Angel Morcuende, technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan, said the factory fire “produced very dense smoke which contaminated the air”.

Cumbre Vieja volcano spews lava and smoke as it continues to erupt on the Canary Island of La Palma, as seen from Tajuya, Spain on October 11, 2021. REUTERS / Sergio Perez

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The area affected by lava in the eruption that began on September 19 expanded by 10% overnight, reaching nearly 600 hectares, he said.

Following the partial collapse of the volcano’s cone on Saturday, a new river of lava flowed out to sea, devouring the banana and avocado plantations and most of the remaining houses in the town of Todoque.

Torrents of molten rock destroyed 1,186 buildings in the three weeks following the eruption, the Canary Islands Volcanic Institute said.

About 6,000 people were evacuated from their homes in La Palma, which has a population of around 83,000.

Reporting by Silvio Castellanos, Juan Medina, written by Inti Landauro; edited by Andrei Khalip and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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