La Palma Reconstruction – April 2024


La Palma’s Reconstruction: April 2024 Update

News roundup from across La Palma regarding science occurring in La Palma, reconstruction efforts, aid provided to residents and industries, and other relevant news. Sources: La Palma Ahora, Cabildo de La Palma, El Time, ABC España, and El Valle de Aridane.


The first banana farms planted on the lava flows of the La Palma volcano (Canarias Ahora)

First reconstructed banana farm on the lava flows – The first reconstructed banana plantations on the lava flows have been constructed, using the ‘la sorriba’ process, in the Las Hoyas area. The first fruit in this new farm is expected in approximately 12 months. The sorriba process involves flattening the tops of the lava flows before topping it with a thickness of soil and ash to create a substrate into which bananas can be planted and an irrigation system can be adopted. They theorise that these bananas may even be more productive, due to the residual heat from the lava flows in the colder months.

Tierra Bonita – management of reconstruction needs to change – The Tierra Bonita Organisation has accused the reconstruction steps of being taken in “dribs and drabs”, and have been often taken arbitrarily or subjectively. They claim that many of the decisions taken are not in line with international standards on disaster recovery such as the 2015-2030 UN Sendai Framework.

Bigger budget of Los Llanos – A 2024 budget of €26.4 million has been approved by Los Llanos de Aridane City Council, which is an 8.8% increase compared to 2023, with part of the increase to attempt to stimulate the economy and the recovery of the area following the eruption. All of the previous continuous financial measures to aid recovery have been maintained.

Coastal pipeline sanctions remain – The President of the Cabildo de La Palma has confirmed that the investigation by the Coastal Authority into the illegal construction by the previous government of a pipeline on the new lava delta at Las Hoyas, will reopen. The Cabildo is facing a €1.7 million fine relating to this project, although the exact details of the repercussions have not yet been finalised.

Affected residents in hotels – 16 people affected by the volcanic eruption are still living in hotels, 2 years and 7 months after the end of the volcanic eruption. Many of these are residents evacuated from Puerto Naos and La Bombilla.

Uncertainty over second home aid – There is uncertainty for those who lost more than one home in the eruption about the aid they will receive from this. In summer 2023 it was announced that people may receive €4,000 for an additional home lost, plus more for more additional homes lost, although some have still not received this. Then, the December 2023 Territorial and Urban Planning Reconstruction Decree recognises the right to recover the residential use of all properties, regardless if it was a first home or a second residence, which hints at further aid for people in this position, although nothing has been announced since the decree was published by the authorities.


Inequity in tax deductions – The Cumbre Vieja Volcano Social Association has criticised the island-wide initiative of a 60% reduction in income tax to stimulate economic recovery of the island following the eruption, as it believes it is unfair as it is applied equally across the island, regardless of if people have been affected by the volcano or not. They also criticise many of the other aid initiatives that are applied equally island-wide in this way.

Farmers affected by the eruption denounce that they are “living badly” after 8 months of waiting for aid for loss of income (El Valle de Aridane)

Aid for farmers – The City Council of Los Llanos de Aridane has approved a motion to review the criteria for assistance for farms affected by the volcano. The spokesperson for PSOE who tabled the motion claimed that current aid for farming losses came too late and was executed poorly.

€10 million for farmers for ash cleanup – The Government of the Canary Islands has announced €10 million in aid for farmers to compensate for a loss of income due to the volcano and expenses for ash clean-ups on their farms. This represents €10 million out of the €100 million promised annually for the reconstruction of La Palma promised by the Government of the Canary Islands.

Subsidies for farm reconstruction – The Government of the Canary Islands has published a funding call from the Canary Islands Rural Development Program for aid to cover the reconstruction costs of farms in Tazacorte, El Paso and Los Llanos affected by the eruption. The aid is co-financed by the EU, the Canary Islands and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. They aim to cover all potential applications to recover farms to their pre-eruption state, up to a maximum total allowance of €30 million. The deadline is 5th June and applications can be made here, and the full text of the call can be read here.

Business aid – After the authorisation to return for seven stores in Puerto Naos, including the SPAR supermarket and the old pharmacy, the President of the Cabildo de La Palma has said that aid to affected businesses in these areas will undergo a de-escalation of aid as they begin to open up again and receive more and more business again. In stores where there are higher CO2 levels, such as the new Pharmacy, plans to change their operations so only a minimal amount of workers enter the store (where levels are higher than outside) have been suggest by the President, as the regulations for CO2 for workers on timed shifts and residents in personal dwellings are different.


734 families can access Puerto Naos and La Bombilla – As of 30th April, with the authorisation of 42 new homes in Puerto Naos, 734 families can now in principle access their homes. As with previously opened areas, these are areas where the CO2 concentration has not exceeded 700ppm for an extended period of time. 374 families have now signed the paperwork necessary to return to Puerto Naos, although the Cabildo believes only around 40 families have permanently returned to the town. Amongst the newly opened areas, the junior school in Puerto Naos has also been authorised to reopen.

The Cabildo already allows 734 families to access Puerto Naos and La Bombilla (El Time)

Marine recovery of the lava deltas – More and more marine species have begun to colonise the lava deltas formed in 2021 eruption, which is monitored in a series of Biodiversity Monitoring Campaigns. The latest find is the first recorded limpet on these deposits, which is common in any other area of the island. Levels of fish are now even higher around the deltas than around La Bombilla, the reference zone. The regrowth of life around the lava deltas has been captured in an exhibition along the Martyrs Walk in Tazacorte, titled “Biodiversity in the lava deltas”.

Emergency Alert System tested on La Palma – A new phone-based emergency alert system, ES-Alert, has been tested on La Palma and other Canary Islands. The system is aimed at providing warnings about disasters such as floods, fires, adverse weather, and volcanic eruptions in affected locations.

Health tests for effects of CO2 – A group of residents who have lived in La Bombilla for more than 10 months, in part against regulations imposed by the Cabildo, which had previously been evacuated following the eruption due to high CO2 emissions, have been tested to see if there have been any health impacts of this return. The tests are being carried out by Dr Aldo González Brito, an advisor on the La Palma Island Emergency Plan (PEINPAL), in collaboration with the Cabildo de La Palma and the Jaraco Platform of affected residents.

Other updates

  • Lava Bombs 2 Showing at Cambridge University – GeoTenerife’s latest documentary, Lava Bombs 2: The Reconstruction, was shown at an event at Girton College at Cambridge University. The event was hosted by Rosie Rice, who was involved in the documentary, and is undertaking a PhD in Social Volcanology at Cambridge University under the supervision of Volcanology Professor and Filmmaker Clive Oppenheimer.
  • More airline passengers – The number of passengers through La Palma airport rose 16.5% to 138,704 in March 2024, compared to March 2023. This mirrors trends on other Canary Islands but showed a larger rise compared with other islands in the archipelago.
  • Francisco Pulido leaving PEINPAL – The outspoken chemist Francisco Pulido, who has been part of the PEINPAL group since September 2023, has announced he will leave the PEINPAL group, largely over the groups handling of the return of residents to Puerto Naos and La Bombilla, which believes has been poorly managed.
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