03 May La Palma eruption – April 2023
La Palma eruption – April 2023
- €750,000 have been allocated towards the creation of a 24-hour control centre to monitor diffuse CO2 emissions in La Bombilla and Puerto Naos. This will compliment the network of gas meters in these towns, as well as other projects such as the forced ventilation to reduce CO2 levels and automated mapping of the gas levels. This will also feed into an alert system, which will work through a public address system and an emergency messaging service.
- The CO2 concentrations continue to be high and potentially dangerous to people at times. The civil protection who have been working in the area have given a demonstration showing how a store-bought gas sensor (which many of the local residents have bought to measure gases), are unreliable and can greatly underestimate the gas levels compared to their professional gas sensing equipment, creating a false sense of security.
- A criminal action has been lodged through one of the platforms of affected people against the Cabildo de La Palma for alleged ‘prevarication’ over its management of the exclusion zones due to very high CO2 levels in Puerto Naos and La Bombilla, that continue to prevent the return of residents.
- The Jaraco Platform of affected people in La Bombilla and Puerto Naos have requested a scientific report into why the volcanic traffic light has not been reduced from yellow to green, and the managed return of residents to these areas have not been considered.
- The Cabildo de La Palma has approved a new island emergency plan (Peinpal). This document covers issues including emergency management, civil protection, and the mobilisation of resources in an emergency.
- A new gravimetric study lead by the Complutense University Madrid (UCM) Geodesy group and conducted both just before and just after the eruption have been used to provide a conceptual model of how the magma rose to the surface through a series of multiple dykes and conduits to reach the surface on the 19th September 2021. They also use this model to explain why diffuse CO2 emissions are specifically a problem in the areas of La Bombilla and Puerto Naos.
- The Canary Islands Government have allocated €250,000 to INVOLCAN for its strategy for reducing volcanic risk in the Canary Islands.
- The platforms representing those affected by the eruption have demanded that urgent and fairer solutions for some of those who lost their homes. Among the issues raised include people still paying bills, loans and mortgages on destroyed homes, and the lack of state compensation for uninsured assets. Those who took out insurance during the eruption also often lost out, because their houses were destroyed in the 7-day ‘grace’ period at the start of the policy. Furthermore, an administrative error has meant some who lost their homes as received unexpectedly high water bills, due to a delay in the readings of newly installed water meters.
- The platform has argued for an extra €60,000 in compensation for those in this position, which equated to the average insurance pay-out. They also argue again that the valuations given for the destroyed homes were less than their true value.
- The Insurance Compensation Consortium (CCS) has now responded to 98% of requests from people affected by the volcano and has paid out €230 million in total over 12,600 requests. €192 million of this corresponds to homes.
- A range of new tax deductions for residents of La Palma have been announced to try to aid the post-eruptive recovery, and include covering illness expenses, the transfer of properties, and those who have lost a property.
- The City Council of Los Llanos has granted 120 rural land licenses in the last 10 months, which allow residents who lost their homes to the eruption to rebuild on a new, previously unoccupied plot of land.
- Some of the first plans for the €4 million allocated to sustainable tourism development during the post-eruptive period have been announced. Among these are viewpoints to see the lava deltas, a new water park, and underwater ‘micro-spaces’ aimed at diving tourism.
- €300,000 has been made available to companies in Los Llanos that were destroyed by the lava flows. Fixed amounts of €8,000, €12,000 or €18,000 will be available to businesses and self-employed people, depending on the size of their business.
- Pictures have emerged showing rust forming on the temporary ‘container’ houses in Los Llanos, less than a year after they were installed, prompting the Canarian Government to carry out repair works to them over Easter.
- After months of protests, the Cabildo de La Palma have announced the second phase of the coastal highway will not be executed, due to a lack of consensus over its route. The original route was very controversial, although more widely accepted routes proposed by the platform of affected people have largely been ignored. The Minister of Public Works also prevented the route from being carried out purely by way of an emergency declaration. This however leaves the controversial ‘viaduct’ section of the first phase currently with nowhere to go, although the first phase of the new road is expected to open in June.
- Large protests have taken place over two new planned luxury ‘Eco-Resorts’ in La Palma, that the Cabildo de La Palma claim will aid the post-volcano recovery. However, protests argue that these developments are unsustainable, unaffordable, much of the profits made from them would be spent in other countries, and they would exacerbate existing problems on the island relating to water and resource use.
- A new temperature study has been requested of the lava flows atop the old LP-2 road, which connected the north and south of the lava flows close to the main cone of the volcano. 4 km of this road were buried under many 10s of m of lava flows, and the high temperatures and large thicknesses of these flows are complicating any recovery plans.
- Mobility around the area of La Laguna has been greatly improved by building a new roundabout atop of the lava flows, connecting various areas which were cut off by the lava flows. This has now been paved, and will be opened once lighting and signage is installed.
- The first license has been granted to build a new house on top of the 2021 lava flows. The plot, in La Laguna, was covered by only a few metres of lava, and contained the destroyed house of the local who the license has been granted to. Further checks of stability and temperature will need to be carried out before building can begin.
- The Cabildo de La Palma have now changed restrictions so that partially damaged farms that border the lava flows can apply for licenses to restart their recovery. For now, this only applies to farmland more than 50 metres away from the flows, and where the ground temperature is less than 30 degrees Celsius.
- A herd of goats were captured wandering on the lava flows, seemingly without detriment. It is understood that the goats belonged to local residents, and had escaped and ended up on the lava flows, where they were then rounded up and brought to safety.
Sources: La Palma Ahora, Cabildo de La Palma, El Time, ABC España, El Valle de Aridane
Access the articles produced around this time
- El Time – Puerto Naos is preparing to live with a certain level of CO2 gases thanks to the forced ventilation of garages – here
- El Time – They detect rust stains on the cover of some containers delivered to those affected – here
- El Time – Those affected by the coastal highway demand to stop “the tome of asphalt and concrete” – here
- La Palma Ahora – More than 300 people demonstrate in La Palma against the “misnamed ecoresort” of La Pavona – here
- El Valle de Aridane – Mariano Zapata: La Palma “is not going to become” Tenerife or Gran Canaria – here
- El Valle de Aridane – The pipeline without permission from Costas for which the Cabildo is exposed to a fine of 1.7 million – here
- El Time – 120 licenses in 10 months: more than a hundred families ‘rebuild’ their lives in Los Llanos – here
- ElaPuron – The La Pavona Ecoresort, in the development and design phase after the declaration of “island interest” – here
- El Time – Those affected by the coastal highway celebrate “the achievement” of the Government ruling out the second part of the route – here
- El Time – A “control center” operating 24 hours a day to monitor CO2 emissions on the coast of the Valley – here
- Cabildo de La Palma – The Cabildo works on systems that allow the population to be informed in real time of the high levels of gases in the Los Lajones area – here
- El Valle de Aridane – They announce criminal actions against the president of the Cabildo for alleged prevarication over Puerto Naos and La Bombilla – here
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The exclusion zones map shown here have been approximated from press releases from the Cabildo de La Palma and will not be exact, nor claim to be official maps of the exclusion zones and road construction. For official information, please contact the Cabildo de La Palma.