08 Apr La Palma eruption – March 2023
La Palma eruption – March 2023
- In Puerto Naos, work has began to investigate the success of forced ventilation of underground garages, which suffer from the highest CO2 concentrations of the whole area, and particularly concentrate the gas. This is one of many measures to try and quicken the return of residents to the area, should be gas concentrations reduce sufficiently.
- Primarily due to the persistent high CO2 levels in Puerto Naos, 128 people still remain housed in hotel, more than 18 months after the eruption began.
- The islands of La Palma and Tenerife have once again started bidding to be chosen as the location for the headquarters of the newly announced Spanish Volcanological Centre. A report detailed by the Cabildo de La Palma details how its recent eruptions and continued research among many other considerations makes it perfectly suited for this role.
- The latest statistics for housing show that 140 permanent homes have been acquired by the government and delivered to those affected, ad 537 families are receiving rental aid from the Government.
- Los Llanos de Aridane has received €4 million of aid for Sustainable Tourism, as it looks to expand its tourism sector in the post-volcano recovery.
- After months of delays and uncertainties, the Government of the Canary Islands has begun the pay its €30,000 share of the €100,000 promised to those who lost their homes to the volcano. This is in addition to €10,000 contributed by the Cabildo de La Palma and €60,000 from the Spanish Government. In total, around 500 families will receive the €30,000 aid payment.
- The international organisation ‘Rotary International’ has announced that it will finance the construction of a new education centre on La Palma that will replace the schools destroyed in Todoque and Los Campitos by the lava flows, which will be built in the ‘Nuevo Todoque’ enclave to the south of the lava flows and cost around €1 million.
- The platform for those affected by the volcano have heavily criticised a recent land law decree brought in by the Government of the Canary Islands. The decree allows for the declaration of buildings isolated or seriously damaged by the eruption as ruins, which the platform argue could open them up to forced demolition, without the consent of the homeowner, in ‘unjust expropriations’. The platform has researched policy worldwide and found that no such policies exist in places facing similar issues such as Hawaii, Guatemala, and New Zealand.
- The platform of those affected by the volcano have reached the required 15,000 signatures to lodge their Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP) law, which they call the ‘Volcano Law’, which would give the people of La Palma and their properties legal protection in the event of a future eruption, and would be able to be applied to retroactively to the 2021 eruption. If the bill passes all the necessary stages, it should be approved by the end of the year.
- On March 15th there were large protests against the ongoing works of the new coastal highway, without clarification about the chosen route from the authorities. The petition proposing the stopping of these works has now reached 35,000 signatures, equivalent to just under half the island’s population. Work continues, and the first asphalting of the first phase of the road began this month.
- Protests have also taken place about many other aspects of poor management in the reconstruction that are frustrating residents. The biggest issues include the uncertainty and lack of transparency on plans over a range of timescales, as well as large delays of >5 months in aid payments, despite the fact that ‘rent must be paid every month’.
- Protests against the temporary container houses have continued, after this month an analysis found that they did not meet minimum habitability requirements of the Canarian Government. Furthermore, rust has now been pictured appearing on the containers only months after they were delivered. 85 metal and 36 wooden homes have been delivered in total and are meant to last for 3 years before a move to permanent new accommodation, although there are fears this timeline will be extended. The delivery of these houses has now ended, with 126 modular homes delivered in total, less than initially promised by the island government.
- The Demarcation of Coasts has proposed a €1.7 million fine for the ongoing allegedly illegal work on the Las Hoyas-Remo irrigation pipeline on the largest lava delta, due to incompliance with environmental regulations. However, the authorities have vowed to ignore this pressure and continue with the works as planned, which they aim to finish next month, and have pointed out that the fine only costs 20% of the costs of the three desalination plants that are currently being used in place of this path. However, the project has been delayed by 3 weeks due to high gas levels on the lava delta preventing any work on the project.
- Conflict continues over the land covered by the lava flow in the area of Los Palacios, which has high geological value. The government has said it will not oppose its protection, but only if 100% of the buried banana trees beneath it are returned in some way to the farmers.
- The Government has published the draft decree law detailing the re-allocation of land for reconstruction of farms buried by the lava flows, with an attempt to ensure each land owner will receive a plot equivalent to the one they had prior to the eruption. Also this month, Tazacorte granted the first planning license for the reconstruction of a farm buried by the lava flows. However, the platform of those affected also advocates for financial aid for those without the resources to rebuild their lost farms and acquire these licenses.
- The Tazacorte City Council has requested a modification to the decree that dictates the exclusion zones around the volcano. It claims that access to some farms and homes in safe areas is being slowed by the current exclusion zones at the edges of the lava flows in particular.
- The maritime exclusion zone around the lava flows has been reduced from 500m to 300m, although this zone still does not apply to emergency services and public administrations carrying out scientific research.
- As part of the reconstruction work, the emblematic Caixa Bank building at the La Laguna crossing, which was destroyed but still standing, has been demolished to allow the progress of a new section of the LP-213 road to be constructed.
Sources: La Palma Ahora, Cabildo de La Palma, El Time, ABC España, El Valle de Aridane
- El Valle de Aridane – “Desperate” call from those affected by the Coastal Highway to protest against the “asphalt volcano” that will destroy their neighborhoods – here
- La Palma Ahora – Los Llanos de Aridane “waits for Health and Public Health to give water” to the neighbors La Bombilla and Puerto Naos – here
- La Palma Ahora – Unemployment increases in La Palma by 56 people in February and stands at 7,834 unemployed – here
- El Time – Maritime exclusion zone reduced to 300 m of the fajanas – here
- El Time – The CO2 outside La Bombilla exceeds 3,400 ppm at 140cm from the ground; almost 9 times more than normal – here
- El Valle de Aridane – A survey of those affected by the volcano confirms that 91% wait between 5 and 7 months for rental assistance, and 43% suffer speculative prices – here
- El Time – Forced ventilation in garages in Puerto Naos starts up in two weeks – here
- El Time – Economy and the State will invest 120 million euros in the recovery of La Palma in two years – here
- El Valle de Aridane – Filed a criminal complaint against public officials and scientists for lack of protection of people and animals in the volcanic catastrophe – here
- La Palma Ahora – The Government of the Canary Islands grants the first complementary aid of 30,000 euros to those affected by the volcano who lost their home – here
- El Valle de Aridane – A technical report concludes that the container houses for those affected by the volcano “are not suitable” to live in: they “break” the habitability regulations – here
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The exclusion zones and road construction plans 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.