La Palma: Canary Islands volcano continues to erupt
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The volcano in the Cumbre Vieja mountain range erupted on La Palma on Sunday for the first time in 50 years. The situation is still ongoing and the “lava is engulfing everything in its path” according to those on the scene.
On Monday morning Spain’s tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, told Canal Sur radio: “The most important thing right now is reassuring tourists who have been affected.
“And also those who may be travelling to the island today or during the course of the week.
“We’re providing information so that tourists can travel to the island and witness something undoubtedly unprecedented for themselves.
“That information will let tourists know the island is open and also whether their hotel has been affected so they can stay elsewhere and enjoy their holiday.
“We can also make the most of this as an attraction so that a lot of tourists who want to enjoy what nature has brought to La Palma can do so in the coming weeks and months.
The minister then said that the country’s embassies would do everything they could so the “island can become an attraction” for tourists who want to see this “wonderful natural spectacle”.
She said the island could become a “volcano tourism” attraction and Spain should “make the most” of the “attraction”.
The tourism spokesperson for Spain’s opposition party responded: “Minister, this is totally inappropriate!!!”
Agustín Almodóbar went on: “There are people who are losing their homes!”
His colleague, Teodoro García Egea, tweeted: “Can someone confirm that the minister said this while hundreds of people are losing everything they have?”
The “inappropriate” tourism minister responded: “Today we stand with the victims and those affected and we’re thinking about how best to get back to that normality that nature’s changed.
“In the future- in the coming weeks and months, when this catastrophe has passed- we’ll think about how we can once again make the beautiful island of La Palma into a tourism area.”
The volcano has so far destroyed around 100 houses as the lava decimates everything in its path.
A new stream of lava erupted from the Canary Island volcano late on Monday, leading to the evacuation of residents in another nearby town, El Paso.
There have been no fatalities or injuries reported but over 5,000 people have been evacuated as the eruption continues.
Tourists have been leaving the island with most in a rush to get home. One person however enjoyed the eruption, saying: “I felt like a little child inside, very excited. It was also my birthday yesterday, so it was sort of a candle on the island cake!”
Volcano tourism has boomed in the last decade with “lava chasers” following eruptions around the globe.
It can be very dangerous and the most recent volcanic accident was at New Zealand’s White Island volcano in 2019.
The volcano’s sudden eruption killed 22 tourists and injured 25 others. Inhaling a volcano’s poisonous gases can also damage your lungs.
Experts say the disasters have fuelled volcano tourism rather than put people off with many “chasing” the lava for thrills.
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