La Palma Reconstruction – December 2023


La Palma Reconstruction December 2023 Update

December 2023 news summaries from across La Palma regarding science 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.


  • €100 million for recovery: The Council of Ministers has approved a €100 million subsidy from the Government of Spain for the economic recovery of La Palma following the 2021 eruption. This aid will be managed by the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands. It will be financed from the 2023 state budget

The Council of Ministers approves 100 million in aid to those whose property (El Time, 2023)

  • New lines of aid: €17.6 million of aid has been granted to the Government of the Canary Islands to promote tourism and support SMEs on La Palma affected by the eruption. There are two separate deadlines for this scheme, one in April 2024 and one in April 2025.
  • €10 million for SMEs: €10 million has been allocated to 2,956 SMEs and self-employed workers on La Palma affected by the eruption. 3,326 applications were received but 11% were rejected as they did not comply with the call or present appropriate documentation.
  • Entrepreneurship aid: Aid in the support line for entrepreneurship and creation of new companies post-volcano has been increased by €5 million, up to a total of €18 million.
  • ERTE measures extended: Measures for workers to address social and economic recovery have been extended, governing temporary employment regulation files, and accounting for force majeure in the case of companies and workers affected by the volcano.
  • Extensions for aid from the Spanish Government: The Spanish Government has been urged to extend all of its current measures to support the recovery of La Palma into 2024. This includes among other measures the moratorium on mortgages as well as various tax exemptions for various groups affected by the eruption. Additionally, the Spanish Government has still not approved €10 million destined for agricultural income loss from 2022, which was taken to the Council of Ministers by the Commissioner of La Palma in August 2023.
  • 2024 Budget: The draft 2024 budget for La Palma has been announced. It is the largest budget ever for La Palma, with notable increases in the amount allocated to housing and tourism, motivated by the recovery from the eruption.


How the new reconstruction decree will zone the lava flows for construction (El Time, 2024).

  • Reconstruction decree: On the 18th of December, the Government of the Canary Islands approved Decree-Law 9/2023 titled the “Territorial and Urban Planning Measures for the Economic and Social Recovery of the Island of La Palma after the Tajogaite Volcanic Eruption”. However, it still needs to be validated by Parliament on La Palma before being enforced. On top of this decree, at least three more major decrees governing the recovery of La Palma are under construction, that will work towards the full reconstruction of the island. 
  • The measures in the current decree include the multi-year payment plan for those affected, and the measures for the construction and recovery of buildings in the areas currently occupied by the lava flows where technically possible, and under the same conditions as pre-volcano. 
  • Three zones on the lava flows, green, yellow, and red, have been established based on technical studies on the safety of the flows, and govern what is needed before reconstruction can take place in these zones. For green (<10 metres thick), just a municipal license, yellow requires safety and technical reports from the Cabildo de La Palma, and red areas cannot be reconstructed due to danger or other protections.
  • There have been many views on different parts of the decree, including Environmentalists: Concerns have been voiced over the granting of permits and licenses to the construction of houses without planned communication and essential public services, the construction of new second homes and holiday homes on protected and rural agricultural land, the lack of controls for speculation on rural land that has already been seen, and the removal of environmental assessment regulations in some emergency cases. PSOE: The socialist party PSOE rejected the decree and urged the Government of the Canary Islands to return to what was written in draft number 8 of this decree. They accuse the approved version of turning its back on the victims and the outcomes wanted by the affected neighbours.
El Time (2023) Zones for reconstruction on the lava flows
  • Volcán Cumbre Vieja Social Association:  Demands explanations from the PP Government of the Canary Islands, due to unforeseen changes that go against the will of those affected. However, the Citizens Initiative on La Palma has refuted these claims.
  • La Plataforma de Afectados por la Erupción del Volcán de Cumbre Vieja: Declared themselves in favour of the decree, after a rigorous comparative analysis of the approved decree relative to earlier drafts of the decree presented to them in July 2023.
  • Questions remain over issues such as the expropriation and re-parcelling of land, as the promised legislation for this has not yet been put in place with this decree.
  • An Information office for members of the public to get information about the new decree is open from 9:00-14:00 and 16:00-20:00 at the Gesplan offices in El Paso. The PSOE also held a meeting on the 9th of December in Tazacorte to address the urban reconstruction decree.
  • Planning licenses update: The El Paso City Council have approved 68 new urban planning licenses for those who have lost their habitual residence during the eruption, on top of those granted over the last 18 months. These licenses allow those affected to rebuild their homes on new plots of land.
  • Las Manchas Cemetery: The Las Manchas Cemetery has recovered its burial service and the expansion work and damage repair have begun, after it was partially destroyed by lava flows towards the end of the eruption.
  • Red Cross: The Red Cross has been running a ‘Promoting Financial Health’ project for those affected by the eruption since January 2023, and has assisted more than 100 people to support their financial recovery.

Resiste La Palma - Carretera de Tacande (LP-212) in El Paso December 2023

Resiste La Palma - Remains of buildings in the "Callejón de la Gata" industrial estate.


  • The role of faith-based organisations: A short report has been published by a Doctoral Student at the University of Cambridge Rosie Rice, also a GeoTenerife contributor, on the role of faith-based organisations and charities in the aftermath of the eruption, focusing particularly on the charity Caritas. The report can be read here under the ‘Published Articles and Opinion Pieces’ tab.
  • Lava Bombs at VMSG 2024 conference: GeoTenerife’s documentary Lava Bombs: Truths Behind the Volcano ( was shown at the Volcano and Magmatic Studies Group (VMSG) 2024 conference as part of the Volcano Film and Art Festival in Bristol, UK. The showing was hosted by VolcanoStories Editor and Volcanology PhD Student Ben Ireland and featured a wide-ranging Q&A panel discussion afterwards featuring Professor Jenni Barclay, Dr Jane Scarrow and Mark Bemelmans. A summary of the event can be read here: 
  • Puerto Naos: Puerto Naos and La Bombilla, evacuated since the start of the eruption due to dangerous diffuse CO2 emissions, have begun to reopen, with more plans announced. The area will continue to be heavily monitored with a network of gas sensors, with mitigation measures and alert systems in place. The most major changes are:
  • 139 homes returned to normal on the streets of Maresía, Atradecer and Lajones, approved by Peinpal. The homes must have continuous CO2 measurements, the Cabildo’s CO2 alert app installed on their homes, and signed authorisation forms for monitoring and tracking the sensor network. There is also only access to the homes, and not low areas, garages and elevators, where CO2 levels can be much higher. Likewise, plans have not yet been approved for a return to commercial establishments in the town.
  • The beach in Puerto Naos should reopen at some time in January, should the recovery of other areas go smoothly.
  • The Puerto Naos Hotel, which was the focus of much international tourism before the eruption, is forecast to reopen in March or April.
  • Gas emissions during the eruption: A study on CO2 emissions from the eruption has shown that in its 86 days, it emitted more than the entirety of the Canary Islands in 2020. That being said, globally volcanoes consistently account for roughly 1% of all CO2 emissions every year on average.

Tenerife experienced many low-magnitude earthquakes in December (El Time, 2023). Imaged sourced from Involcan (2023)

Other Updates

Resiste La Palma - Visitors standing in the road to look at Tajogaite

Six ‘geomorphosites’ of the Tajogaite volcano in La Palma of “high geotourism interest” have been selected (El Diaro, 2023).

  • Tourism figures: The latest figures show that, compared to pre-volcano and pre-Covid, international tourist numbers remain very low in La Palma, although tourist numbers from within the Canary Islands to La Palma have seen a large increase in the same period.
  • New Geo-tourism sites: After a study by INVOLCAN, The University of La Laguna and other universities, 6 ‘geomorphosites’ of high tourism interest have been identified on La Palma in the 2021 eruption products. The areas identified include the volcanic edifices, impressive features in the lava flow field including channels, areas of scientific and cultural importance relating to the ashfall during the eruption, and finally, areas used in the monitoring of the eruption. The sites can be viewed in the publication here.
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