Thousands evacuated after volcano erupts on Spain’s La Palma island


Angel Victor Torres said in a post on Twitter that so far there are no reports of any injuries or deaths.

Canary Islands emergency services tweeted late Sunday that 5,000 people had been evacuated from the area near the explosion.

That figure included 400 tourists removed from a hotel in La Palma and taken to a hotel on the nearby island of Tenerife, Torres told Spanish radio station SER in an interview.

After a night of spectacular images of lava illuminating the island’s countryside, Torres told SER that experts believe just one point of eruption from a volcano near the “lightly populated” part of the island. It has a population of about 80,000 people.

Footage from the island shows at least one highway cut through a wall of lava; Local officials said some houses had been damaged.

Officials have warned local residents to keep their distance from the blast.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed solidarity with the people of La Palma in a Twitter post on Monday. She added that “we are in contact with the Spanish authorities to offer any additional assistance.”

Volcano erupts on La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez remains on La Palma, one of the smaller Canary Islands islands off Morocco’s Atlantic coast, after arriving there on Sunday.

Sanchez and other officials visited an evacuation center on Monday, after delaying their trip to New York for the UN General Assembly. That was due to take a closer look at the volcano and its destruction later.

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (INVOLCAN) wrote in a statement on Facebook on Sunday that more than 25,000 earthquakes have been detected in the past nine days around the Cumbre Vieja volcano.

Spanish news reports said the last major eruption from the volcano was 50 years ago.

The regional president said around 400 firefighters were present to tackle the fire caused by the lava flow.

Spain’s transport ministry tweeted that it had barred ships from approaching the volcano due to the risks posed by lava flows into the ocean.

The Canary Islands are a popular tourist destination for British, German and other European visitors.

CNN’s Al Goodman reports with Vasco Cottovio in Lisbon in Madrid, as well as Martin Goilando and Jeevan Raveendran in London.

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