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Thousands of La Palma residents locked down as eruption...

Newsdeck

Volcano

Thousands of La Palma residents locked down as eruption mars air quality

epa09615065 Smoke and lava rise from the new vent of the Cumbre Vieja volcano in El paso, La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, 01 December 2021. A new vent appeared early morning 28 November. EPA-EFE/Miguel Calero
By Reuters
13 Dec 2021 0

LA PALMA, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Thousands of residents of Spain's La Palma island were ordered to stay at home on Monday due to "extremely adverse" air quality generated by the Cumbre Vieja volcano that has smouldered for almost three months.

The eruption, which has sent spectacular rivers of molten lava running down the slopes of Cumbre Vieja since Sept. 19, is the longest running on the Spanish Canary island since records began in 1500.

Around 24,500 residents in Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Tazacorte – a third of La Palma’s inhabitants – were asked to stay indoors due to emissions of sulphur dioxide that have reached toxic levels, authorities said.

Emergency services instructed residents to shut their windows and turn off air conditioning units to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. They also recommended postponing outdoor activities and advised people to wear a heavy-duty mask if they had to venture out.

In affected municipalities, students were told to remain in schools and parents not to pick them up until the air quality clears.

Lava flows have damaged or destroyed at least 2,910 buildings, according to the EU satellite monitoring system Copernicus, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people from their homes on the island, part of the subtropical Canaries archipelago.

(Reporting by Marco Trujillo and Borja Suárez; writing by Emma Pinedo; editing by Nathan Allen and Mark Heinrich)

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