Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —
Eruption volcano La Cumbre Vieja on the Spanish island of La Palma, which destroyed hundreds of homes and farmland, was declared over, Saturday (25/12). The volcano has erupted in the last three months.
Launch AFP, the announcement follows 10 days of low-level activity from the small island volcano, part of the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa.
There were no direct injuries or deaths as a result of the eruption which began on September 19.
However, the eruption destroyed 1,345 homes, mainly on the west side of La Palma, as well as schools, churches, health centers and agricultural irrigation infrastructure.
Dramatic footage from the first days of the eruption has been repeatedly shown on Spanish TV, showing a thick cloud of smoke blanketing the bell tower of a church before it collapses.
This volcanic eruption is the first to occur since 1971 and is the longest on record. About 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. They were given a few minutes to pack their things.
Losses from this volcanic eruption could exceed $1 billion, according to regional officials.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez described the news as “the best Christmas gift.”
“We will continue to work with all institutions to relaunch the beautiful island of La Palma and repair the damage it has caused,” Sanchez said on Twitter.
The Spanish government has so far pledged €225 million in relief funds for recovery efforts, including buying temporary housing and providing financial assistance to people who have lost their jobs.
Experts have warned it will take years to clear the land destroyed by the lava and remove large amounts of ash from buildings and roads.
Soldiers from the emergency unit had removed ash from the roof during the eruption to prevent the building from collapsing.
The volcano will continue to release toxic gases for a long time, which can pose a threat to residents. The lava will also take a long time to cool to a safe level.
“The end of the eruption doesn’t mean there is no more danger,” said Julio Perez, the Canary volcano’s director of emergency response.
“Risks and dangers remain,” he told a news conference.
Many locals have complained that state aid has been slow, with some already considering relocating from the island known as “La Island bonita” — “The Beautiful Island” — because of its lush scenery.
“I may have to go and look for something else on another island, because public institutions are not capable of facing this disastrous challenge,” Victor Manuel, a 50-year-old banana farmer, told AFP recently.
Lava from the volcano created two new peninsulas as it flowed into the sea, one measuring 44 hectares and the other about 5 hectares. La Palma is about 35 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide at its widest point.
(AFP / off)
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