La Palma Reconstruction – November 2023

ff23ea89-5e37-40bf-967e-84adedfac4e9

La Palma Reconstruction November 2023 Update

October 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.

Aid

  • 1,296 farmers forced to return €3.5 million in aid: €3.5 million in aid for loss on income to farmers is going to be returned, because it is understood that mismanagement by the previous institution of the funds lead to many some receiving more aid than they were shown to have lost. This is because these payments had been made based on estimates of damage, rather than definitive data that were available later.
  • 1,296 farmers forced to return €3.5 million in mismanaged aid, El Time (2023).

    €85,000 for school recovery: €85,000 has been given to the recovery of the CEIP School in La Laguna, that was majorly damaged on the edges of the flows during the eruption. The flows around the school have since been removed to open up new road connections, although the school has remained in the almost two years since the end of the eruption, with an alternative in El Paso being used instead. A timeline for the recovery of the school has not yet been given.

  • €150 million for four years: La Palma will receive €100 million and €50 million annually for four years from the Spanish and Canarian Governments, respectively, to go towards recovery. The Platform of Affected Residents has said that this will pay the victims for ‘the real value of what was lost by the eruption’, and that residents should be consulted on how it is used and administered, and that increases in the price of construction and land cannot be forgotten either.
  • Income tax reduction: The Canary Islands government has asked the Spanish government to extend the 60% reduction in income tax for residents of La Palma following the eruption, which was brought into force in November 2022, initially for 2 years, although the Canarian Government argue it could need to be in place for 10 years.
  • €750,000 aid line for planning: €750,000 has been opened by the Government of the Canary Islands for the municipalities to cover the costs of the extra urban planning reviews associated with planning the post-volcano recovery.
  • €2.5 million for SMEs by the end of the year: The Canary Islands government has promised that €2.5 million of the €5 million promised to SMEs last September will be delivered by the end of the year, with the rest in early 2024.
  • The Government assures that 2.5 million for SMEs in La Palma “will arrive before the end of the year”, El Time (2023).

    €10 million from the Canary Islands Government for Agriculture: This will go towards the recovery of agriculture on La Palma, with money allocated to creating new thermal maps, locating new potential agricultural lands, and other broader actions.

  • Waits continue for the €30,000: There are still some victims on La Palma who have not yet received the €30,000 aid payment from the Government of the Canary Islands, that started to be paid to the first few hundred victims in March 2023.
  • €50 million for socio-economic recovery: In the 2024 budget for the Ministry of Public Administrations, Justice, and Security, €50 million has been allocated towards the socioeconomic recovery of La Palma.

Reconstruction

  • The government presents the territorial and urban planning decree: 
    • Summary: This decree, which has been worked on since the eruption ended, has been presented to the affected platforms and neighbourhood associations. This decree will also be followed by a new agricultural decree, and two more decrees on housing and economic development, which will provide the legal framework for reconstruction of the island going forward. The main legal changes included in this decree are that the law recognises the property rights of those affected over their cadastral plots and that the raft of previously brought-in laws to facilitate the recovery of homes on the island has been extended for at least another 4 years, and extended them to second homes and to the full island rather than just the municipalities affected directly by the volcano. The decree can be read at http://lapalma.planderecuperaciondecanarias.es/prclp, and those with queries can visit the Gesplan offices in El Paso or Santa Cruz, or by calling 616 448 465.
  • Response from one platform for those affected: However, the Cumbre Vieja Volcano Social Association, one of the platforms for affected people, has stated that the new decree does not include the opinions of the victims, particularly on measures such as policy to keep down the price of rustic land, and for aid towards surveys and permits needed to build new homes on such rustic land. A new study has shown that house prices in both El Paso and Los Llanos have risen by >20% since the start of the eruption, and affected residents claim rustic land has at least doubled in price in some areas.
  • Reconstruction decree: The Government hopes to approve the reconstruction decree before the end of the year, once ‘irregularities’ that were found previously in the text have been properly rectified. This decree is key in giving those affected a right to recover private property and the price of expropriation of the affected land.
  • Recovery of farms at the flow edges continues: A total of 48 hectares of agricultural land could be recovered by recovering the half-buried plots that have already received permits to begin recovering their covered land. 35 licenses have been granted so far, and the first works to recover these areas have begun in Tazacorte, with 70% soil and 30% ash from the volcano, to make up to a layer 80cm thick in total. They estimate the first plants could be in within 6-8 months.
  • Bananas and reconstruction: There have been divided opinions over the role and influence of the banana sector in the recovery of La Palma, revealed by reactions to the latest draft Agricultural decree, which does not cover which agricultural model should be followed, particularly if none, some or all of the areas affected by lava flows should be allowed to be farmed.
  • Modular home damages: Los Llanos City Council has contacted the Canary Islands Housing Initiative (Icavi) over reported damages to the modular homes, with hopes of urgent renovations where needed.

  • €3 million for forests: The Cabildo has allocated 3 million to restore the forest structure in the area affected by the volcano. This will be carried out by GESPLAN and include improvements to forest structure which should improve their resilience to fires, such as high-intensity thinning of the stand among others.
  • New law regulating the tourist use of homes: A new law has been announced for the whole of the Canary Islands but with specific regulations for La Palma, to introduce measures the regulated tourist homes. On La Palma, there is specific tension between touristic and residential homes due to the increase in demand post-volcano. The law is in a consultation phase and seeking resident opinions, although it will seek to prevent vacation homes being unsustainable from an economic, sociocultural, or environmental perspective.
  • Underwater fishing area: The Government of the Canary Islands are developing actions to recover part of the underwater fishing area that was lost due to the lava delta during the eruption.
  • Insurance errors from satellite imagery: It has been reported that some families have had to resort to getting private drone imagery of their homes to demonstrate to the Insurance Compensation Consortium when the damage occurred to their homes. This is because for the policy to be valid it needed to be taken out 7 days before the damage occurred, and errors in the Copernicus Imagery, either through uncertainties in the date or misclassification of houses as either damaged or not damaged, has lead to complications for some victims when dealing with insurance claims.

Science

  • Land for the National Volcanological Centre: The buying of land in Tajuya in El Paso to potentially house the new National Volcanological Centre on La Palma has been approved by the Cabildo de La Palma. This is an essential requirement for the island to be able to apply for the island to host this national-level headquarters.
  • Puerto Naos and La Bombilla: The situation in Puerto Naos and La Bombilla remains the same, with occasional dangerously high CO2 concentrations preventing the permanent return of evacuated residents, although daytime access is allowed dependent on safe CO2 levels to the areas, under different restrictions based on the hazard in each part of the towns. Much monitoring continues with an ongoing alert system project as well as pilots for forced ventilation. As such, the promised return of residents to Puerto Naos by the current administration remains on hold until the situation changes. Another company has been hired to investigate the origin and situation of the gases, and the island President is hoping to fix a date to move forward.
  • El Time, November 15th, 2023.

    Two intrusions fed the eruption: New research by IGN show that the seismicity clearly traces two magmatic intrusions in the week before the eruption. With an improved seismic catalogue generated using machine learning techniques, they showed that there was a first intrusion on the 12th-17th September, and then a second on the 18th-19th September, which caused the eruption.

  • Peinpal controversy: It emerged at the start of November that IGN, IGME and Involcan had suspended their participation in Peinpal scientific meetings, which is thought to relate to statements made against the organisations by committee members Fransisco Pulido and Aldo Brito in external forums and on social media. After mediation, it was announced the organisations would return to the meetings starting on the 16th of November.
  • Blue economy recovery project: The DELTA project has begun off the coast of La Palma, aiming to provide data to support the marine recovery in the areas of La Palma affected by the volcano, as well as promote blue jobs and biodiversity preservation.

Other Updates

  • Storm Alerts: On the 30th of November, the meteorological agency AEMET issued heavy rain alerts across La Palma in the areas impacted by the eruption and the recent forest fire. These areas were particularly at risk from landslides and rockfalls due to the amount of runoff and unconsolidated soil and ash in these areas, and in the end some rockfalls and flooding of roads in the area affected by this summer’s fire were reported.
  • Fajana Pipeline Sanction: The president of the Cabildo Sergio Rodriguez has appealed to the Ministry of Coasts over the €3 million fine for illegalities in carrying out the Las Hoyas-Remo pipeline. He has argued that although it is not the solution he would have carried out, it is the solution that he has been given, and that although the previous administration undertook the work, it is his administration that is suffering the most from it.

Resiste La Palma - Current state of "El Paradiso" and "El Corujo", in the lower area of Todoque, Los Llanos de Aridane (29th November 2023)

Resiste La Palma - The view of Tajogaite from Montana La Laguna

Resiste La Palma - Current status of the flows in the area of Las Norias de Abajo and Los Palacios (Tazacorte) where farmers fight to recover their lost banana crop yields

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.