06 Jun La Palma eruption – May 2023
La Palma eruption – May 2023
- The return of 7 families to the Los Lajones neighbourhood in Puerto Naos has been authorised by the government, with systems including PA systems and phone alert systems put in place in case the gas levels reach dangerous levels. Elsewhere, some platforms of affected people have protested and produced a report arguing for the return of all residents and the reducing of the Volcanic Traffic Light Alert System from Yellow to Green. However, this has been refuted as not scientifically rigorous and constituting misinformation by INVOLCAN, who are involved in monitoring the gas levels in these areas, and both the Government and Ministry of Public Health has advised to keep the rest of these places evacuated, as CO2 concentrations remain high and dangerous, with values of up to 80,000 ppm being recorded in the last 15 days in outdoor areas. The thresholds for safe CO2 concentrations have been established internationally, and generally allow a 24-hour average of up to 1,000 ppm.
- Volcanologists have begun to enter and explore some of the rapidly cooled lava tubes from the 2021 eruption, beginning to try and understand their dynamics and the implications for reconstruction, the stability of the flow surface, and cooling trends. A wide range of characteristics have been observed, that will be researched in further detail as part of many collaborative projects.
- The latest post-eruptive report from PEINPAL indicates that any residual post-eruptive seismic signals and degassing of SO2 from the cone continue to decrease, and that these do not compromise the air quality in the nearby towns of El Paso and Las Manchas.
- The NGO Tierra Bonita has highlighted one area where those affected are being let down is in the production of regularly updated thermal images of the lava flows to analyse their cooling. These images are requested often for those wanting to plan the potential reconstruction of their plots. So far, these images have had to be made available by outside agencies such as iLoveTheWorld.
- Marine Biology students from the University of La Laguna, Tenerife, have made observations of the new lava deltas to analyse the colonisation and succession in these new environments. New videos and images released by INVOLCAN of the submerged areas of the lava deltas show colonisation by large amounts of algae and other plants already.
- More families who lost their homes are finally beginning to receive the €30,000 of aid promised by the Government of the Canary Islands. This aid, that started to be paid in March, has now been paid to 284 families in total, although this still only represents a small proportion of those who have been promised this aid.
- In addition to the €30,000 already promised by the Canarian Government, the Cabildo de La Palma have now included in their latest budget an extra €2,000 for those who have lost their first home, which is aimed at provisions such as food, clothing, supplies and other expenses.
- After protests for not introducing this measure, the Cabildo have allocated €4.5 million in aid for those who lost second homes or tourist homes, who previously were not eligible for aid. This corresponds to €4,000 for a second home and up to €18,000 for the loss of 6 or more second homes.
- The aid for freelancers and small businesses affected by the eruption has been doubled to €10 million compared to the initial announcement last year, according to various criteria. So far, over 2,600 applications to the call have been made.
- €26 million has been allocated to promote the reconstruction of the agricultural sector in La Palma, with more than 700 farmers receiving the aid, which is co-financed by the Canary Islands Government and the European Union.
- On 25th May, the new Coastal Road connecting the northwest and southwest of the lava flows opened to traffic. The road has been paved and is 3.9 km long with a 70 km/h speed limit. The route includes the controversial 243m long viaduct between two lava flows, installed to keep the road flat, and in total this road has cost €38 million. The second planned section for this route currently remains abandoned, due to the lack of consensus over the highly opposed initial proposed route for the section.
- In La Laguna, the La Laguna roundabout, as well as the road linking Camino Cruz Chica with La Laguna Crossing, have been opened across the lava flows after months of works.
- Starting from June 1st, the La Laguna-Las Norias highway across the lava flows will be closed due to works to install essential services. During this time, the newly opened coastal road and the LP-215 Tazacorte-La Laguna road will serve as alternative routes.
- The water supply to the agricultural areas south of the lava flows has been re-established after lengthy construction of a new 9km long pipeline, which replaces the portable desalination plants that were providing water for irrigation to these areas previously.
- Los Llanos have granted 11 new licenses to rebuild homes on new plots of land in the last month, taking the total number of these licenses granted to 139, in the year since the scheme was announced.
- The Cabildo de La Palma will sign a €7.5 million agreement with Visocan to build houses for those affected by the volcano. These will be homes that will be leased on behalf of the Cabildo to those affected through the single registry who lost their homes.
- A draft decree, citing growing crops on the 2021 lava flows as the most viable option for agricultural recovery, has been prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, and could begin in 18 months if it is ratified and given the green light by parliament. This approach is similar to seen on the 1949 lava delta, which through the process of sorribar was converted into agricultural land.
- A meeting between politicians and affected residents on the draft decree law concerning the re-parcelling or land, notably new additions and different options for the law, has taken place in El Paso. The politicians stressed the flexibility of the document, which some residents have voiced concerns about, due to the alleged potential in the law for forced expropriations of land destroyed by the lava flows.
- In the island elections on La Palma, the Canarian Coalition (CC) party has won a majority in the Cabildo de La Palma, succeeding the outgoing PP party government. The island president will be Sergio Rodriguez, who was the Mayor of the affected town of El Paso prior to the elections, and his response in this role is thought to have contributed to his popularity.
- The Ministry dedicated to tourism on La Palma has announced a permanent project aimed to reverse the damage of the eruption and promote La Palma as an attractive and competitive tourist destination. The main damages to tourism from the volcano include the loss of ~5,000 beds and the lack of access from airlines pulling flight routes to the island.
- A citizen science project has begun to create an interactive map showing images of all the lost streets of the island after the eruption, created by Daniel Alvarez Kleylein, a resident of Todoque. It can be viewed at https://calleseternaslapal.wixsite.com/calles-eternas-la-pa.
Sources: La Palma Ahora, Cabildo de La Palma, El Time, ABC España, El Valle de Aridane
Access the articles produced around this time
- El Valle de Aridane – Residents of Puerto Naos and La Bombilla requests an end to the yellow traffic light alert level – here
- La Palma Ahora – Vanoostende addresses a “more flexible and participatory” reparcelling draft – here
- El Time – The Hoyas-Remo pipeline finalizes its “setting up” and will be operational in the coming days – here
- La Palma Ahora – Javier Llamas (CC): “Container houses must be given an expiration date” – here
- La Palma Ahora -The Government of the Canary Islands grants more than 26 million to promote the reconstruction of the agricultural sector of La Palma – here
- La Palma Ahora – The Cabildo recovers the water supply in the agricultural areas located to the south of the volcano flows – here
- El Time -The Office for the Affected Reopens to facilitate the processing of the aid of €60,000 for the loss of housing – here
- El Time -Seven families will return to their home in Los Lajones – here
- El Valle de Aridane – Jaraco’s lawyer asks the TSJC for an urgent precautionary measure to allow the return to Puerto Naos and La Bombilla- here
- La Palma Ahora – The CO2 levels registered in Puerto Naos and La Bombilla are “much higher” than those of the Italian island Vulcano- here
- El Valle de Aridane – Protest in Puerto Naos brings together a hundred evacuees- here
- La Palma Ahora- Parliament authorizes collecting 15,000 signatures for the Volcano Law promoted by victims of the eruption of La Palma- here
- El Time – The Cabildo allocates 10 million euros to companies affected by the volcano – here
- El Time – The coast road ‘is ready’ and opens to traffic this Thursday – here
- El Time – INVOLCAN’s response to the report “Volver a vivir en Puerto Naos y La Bombilla” – here
- El Time – The Government expands the Contingency Fund with 6.7 million to deal with the damage caused by the volcano – 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.