As a volcano in La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, continues to spew lava and ash for the fifth day, thousands more have been forced to flee. The volcano erupted at around 3:15 p.m. local time on Sunday. Since then, a continuous flow of black lava has been slowly advancing west, destroying everything in its path. Live images from cameras and drones in the area show the extent of the damage.

The eruption of La Cumbre Vieja on September 19 marks the first of the Canary Islands in 50 years. Although no deaths were reported, the lava destroyed around 350 homes and forced the evacuation of around 6,000 people. Real estate portal Idealista estimates that the volcano has so far destroyed property worth around $ 102 million.

Lava is now close to reaching the sea. With temperatures exceeding 1,000 ° C, local authorities fear that the lava hitting the sea could cause explosions and produce clouds of poisonous gas, which could also reduce visibility.

During this time, the Canary Islands Institute of Volcanology worked tirelessly to obtain key scientific data on the eruption, including measuring sulfur dioxide concentrations as well as the chemical composition of the plume, taking thermal images. and the establishment of a geochemical station to monitor the chemicals and isotopic composition of soil gas.

The organization estimates that the rash could last up to 84 days.

Sunday’s disaster was preceded by weeks of intense seismic activity in the area, which alerted authorities that an eruption was possible.

Over the past few days, more than 4,200 tremors, known as the “earthquake swarm”, have been recorded on the island as soil deformation indicated magma bubbling beneath the surface.

Watch the live video stream of the Spanish volcano La Palma

Along with the volcano, a controversy also erupted in Spain. As local authorities urge people to stay away from the affected region, Spain’s Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said in an interview on Monday that the eruption could be a potential tourist attraction.

The island is open. If your hotel is affected, we’ll find you another one. Take this opportunity to enjoy what nature has given us.

The remarks sparked a backlash, with political opponents lambasting Maroto and pointing out that people were losing their homes in the disaster.

Read more: Absolutely crazy footage of an FPV drone melting inside an active volcano

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