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Lava From La Palma’s Erupting Volcano Reaches Atlantic Ocean

The lava coming in contact with the water in the Playa Nueva area could trigger a chemical reaction and explode toxic gases

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Divya Dhadd
Divya Dhadd
Journalist

SPAIN. La Palma Island: Lava from an erupting volcano on Spain’s La Palma island reached the Atlantic Ocean late on Tuesday evening, raising fears of toxic gases being released and explosions.

Nine days since the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands erupted on September 19 wrecking buildings and destroying crops — massive clouds of white steam are now rising as a red-hot current made contact with the water in the Playa Nueva area. Photographs on social media showed the lava piling up near a cliff.

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Also Read: Volcano Erupts On La Palma Island In Spain

Officials said the lava flowing into the sea could trigger explosions and clouds of toxic gas, involving chlorine, which can irritate the skin and eyes, affecting breathing. The Canary Islands’ emergency service urged those outdoors to immediately find a safe place in which to shelter. No injuries were reported.

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Lava has been flowing down the Cumbre Vieja volcano’s western flank towards the sea since September 19, destroying around 600 homes and banana plantations in La Palma. Thousands of people have been moved to safety and three coastal villages were locked down on Monday in anticipation of the lava meeting the Atlantic.

“When the lava reaches the sea, the lockdown must be strictly observed,” Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca response committee, said earlier on Tuesday.

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The Spanish authorities have declared La Palma – the most north-westerly island of the archipelago off the north African coast – a disaster zone, pledging financial support for all those affected by the volcanic activity.

The government announced the first package of €10.5 million ($12.3m), which includes about €5m to buy houses, with the rest to acquire furniture and essential household goods, government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez said.

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