Thu, 21 Oct 2021

LAS PALMAS, Canary Islands: Lava flowing from the first volcanic eruption in 50 years on Spain's Canary Islands destroyed some 100 houses and forced the evacuation of 5,500 people, authorities said earlier this week.

An official added that the flow of molten rock, which was expected to reach the Atlantic , which experts said could trigger more explosions and the release of toxic gases.

The regional emergency agency tweeted that the town of El Paso was evacuated after the volcano released a new lava flow as early as Monday.

The volcano first erupted on Sunday and affected a sparsely populated area of Las Palmas. No injuries or fatalities were reported.

A Reuters witness saw the flow of molten rock slowly engulfing houses in the village of Los Campitos.

Regional emergency official Jorge Parra said some 100 homes were set afire by the eruption.

Regional leader Angel Victor Torres stressed that the damage would be substantial, stating, "It is still active and will continue to be for the next few days," as quoted by Reuters.

The eruption was "a wonderful show" that will attract more tourists, said Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto, who has been criticized by opposition members for his comments.

More than 500 tourists left their hotels following the eruption, with 360 being evacuated from a Las Palmas resort to the nearby island of Tenerife by boat.

After thousands of tremors were reported in Cumbre Vieja, which is one of the most active volcanic regions in the Canary Islands, Las Palmas was placed on high alert.

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who visited some affected areas and met officials, praised the efforts of emergency personnel on Twitter.

The Enaire Civil Air Authority confirmed that the airspace around the Canaries remains open, as there are no visibility issues for aircraft.

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