Spanish PM Pledges Aid to Volcano Victims

Photo taken on Sept. 23, 2021, shows the scene of volcanic eruption of Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma, Spain.(Xinhua/Meng Dingbo/IANS)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has promised an aid package of 206 million euros ($239 million) to help the island of La Palma overcome the effects of the ongoing eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano.

The aid package, which is aimed at supporting infrastructure, tourism and water supplies, would be approved at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting and passed by a royal decree as quickly as possible, Xinhua news agency quoted Sanchez as saying.

This “potent aid package” will be added to the 10.5 million euros in aid approved last week to be granted to help people displaced by the eruption.

“I want to underline the exemplary response of the population. We have to communicate a feeling of security to the residents and to tourists who could visit the island,” said Sanchez, who made his third visit to the island on Sunday as the eruption entered its 15th day.

The eruption has so far led to around 6,000 people being evacuated from their homes, while destroying more than 1,000 homes.

Angel Victor Torres, regional president of the Canary Islands, said that the eruption looks set to continue.

“We don’t know for certain in what moment we are, the end doesn’t look to be close,” said Torres, who added that the 80 million cubic metres of lava the eruption has already thrown out is already twice as much as the amount in the last eruption on the island in 1971.

As well as the homes and agricultural land, the lava has also destroyed 30 km of road on the island and led to the formation of around 50 hectares of new land as the lava flows into the ocean on the southwest coast of the island.

The volcano increased its activity on Saturday night, when over 20 tremors with a magnitude of up to 3.5 on the Richter Scale were measured, while two new fissures opened on the side of the mountain.

The new fissures, which are around 15 metres apart, began to expulse molten lava parallel to the earlier flows which have reached the ocean.

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