Jose Maria Rodriguez I
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, September 19 (EFE).- This Monday marks one year since the volcanic eruption on the Canary island of La Palma, a geological phenomenon that has forced it to collect a large amount of public resources. And an unprecedented pace in Spain’s history of natural disasters.
On the first anniversary of the volcano’s eruption, about 200 victims continue to live in hotels because they have nowhere else to stay, and the sectors that drive the palm economy (mainly agriculture and tourism) are still debating how they can recover.
Volcanoes in statistics
Duration: 85 days and eight hours of eruption from September 19 to December 13, 2021, the island’s longest since the fifteenth century and the third in the history of Lanzarote (2,055), after the Timanfire in the history of the Canary Islands. days, between 1730 and 1736), and at the submarine Tagoro Volcano, El Hierro (147 days, between 2011 and 212).
Volume emitted: according to the latest 3D cartography carried out by the National Institute of Volcanology of Italy and its Canarian counterpart, Involcan, the volcano has emitted 217 million cubic meters of material, without counting the material deposited under the sea in the two deltas of the lava on the coast of Tazacorte. In other words, it emitted the same amount of material as its six predecessors in La Palma’s history, an average of 27 cubic meters per second (m3/s), a rate that reached close to 60 m3/s on some days. If that were 217 million m3 of water, it would be enough to reach all the reservoirs of the provinces such as Álava, Castellón, La Rioja or Teruel.
Cone: Occupies an area of 0.6 km2 (60 ha), on which 36.5 million cubic meters of material were deposited, which until then raised a mountain 187 meters high in a hollow on the western slopes of Cumbria Vieja. The summit of the volcano is located at an altitude of 1,121 meters.
Las Coladas: Lava covers 11.8 km2 (1,180 ha), 1.69% of the island’s surface. That great slab of molten rock, slowly cooling from the 1,140 degrees it reached, extends six kilometers from the cone to the coast, with a maximum width of three kilometers, and an extension that would almost be enough to bury the city. Melilla (12.3 km2). It is made of 177.6 million cubic meters of material, with an average thickness exceeding 15 meters, but which reaches 65 meters in some places, enough to completely cover stadiums such as the Camp Nou (48 meters) or the Santiago Bernabeu (45 meters). m).
Deltas: After reaching the sea, the lava created two deltas on the coast of Tajacorte that add up to 48 hectares of surface, the smallest land mass in Spain. The largest, 43.4 hectares, fits the entire Vatican State. Below is one of the most sought-after beaches for surf lovers in the Canary Islands, Los Guires, which has gone down in history, but the sea has already created other small, still virgin sand banks and life has begun to colonize submerged rocks.
In total, more than 7,000 people were evacuated from their homes, many of them during at least the three months that the eruption lasted. This represents 8.2% of La Palma’s population.
In addition, 2,329 people lived in an enclosure covered by lava or ash, 7.1% of the census of the three municipalities that the lava flow crossed, El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridén, and Tajacorte.
Official data indicates that 1,676 buildings were destroyed or damaged by the floods, including 1,345 houses, 180 farm tool rooms, 75 industrial buildings, 44 leisure and hospitality facilities and 16 buildings for public use, such as schools or churches, among others. Whole neighborhoods like Todoc no longer exist, and others like La Laguna have stone rivers in the middle of the street
Likewise, 73.8 kilometers of highways and urban roads were buried, the vast majority (65%) in Los Llanos de Aridén. 370 hectares of crops were also damaged, including 228 bananas, 68 vineyards and 27 avocados.
According to the estimates of the Government of the Canary Islands, the destruction caused all kinds of damage to public and private property of 982 million euros.
The 565.54 million Euros allocated for aid for La Palma have already been distributed by the Central Government in collaboration with the Canarian Executive, 7,091 files have been initiated at the request of the victims, 96% already signed.
The Canarian government bought 139 houses and modular homes to make them available to those who lost their homes, and provided 488 grants to cover rent.
Among the 13.64 million euros the Cabildo de la Palma received in public and private donations for the victims. 7.22 million were distributed to 2,941 families who lost their homes or could not live in them (depending on the number of members) and 6.34 million were distributed to 634 families at a rate of 10,000 euros each. The cabildo covered 420,000 euros with its own funds.
Tourists take pictures of the erupting volcano. EFE/Miguel Calero
A year after the eruption, difficulties persist
A year later, about 200 people are still living in hotels, more than half of them (108) from Puerto Naos and La Bombilla, two centers that have been evacuated by high concentrations of CO2 and other volcanic gases, at levels that can be lethal. They are joined by an unspecified number of people who live with relatives or in other forms of accommodation, such as caravans.
In addition, 93 children lost their usual schools: 44 are students from the two centers that disappeared under the lava (CEIP Todoque and Los Campitos) and 49 from the center that became useless in Puerto Naos (CEIP María Milagros Acosta). They are grouped in a temporary center in Los Llanos de Ariden.
The impact of all the lost properties and the large number of affected people looking to rent or buy at the same time has caused housing prices to skyrocket. There is no official information, but like portals idealista.com They estimate that purchase prices have increased by 21.4% in Los Llanos de Aridén, 20.1% in Tajacorte and 24.7% in the island’s capital, Santa Cruz, over the past year. According to the same source (5.7%), in the Canary Islands as a whole they grew four times. And rents feel the same pressure.
About 4,000 tourist beds are off the market due to security restrictions due to the presence of gas in Puerto Naos, although the buildings where they are located have not suffered physical damage. As a result La Palma has about 11,000 operational beds left.
Hundreds of owners don’t know if they will be able to recover farms and homes that have fallen under the lava. Those lands are theirs, but the questions of how to reach them, what they can use them for, and what they will be used for still come up at every meeting of the victims.
Edited by Oscar Tomasi