Experts say the eruption of the volcano La Palma in Spain is over

Aerial view of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, in Tacande, on the Canary Island of La Palma on December 16, 2021. Photo: Jorge Guerrero / AFP (Getty Images)

After almost three months of devastation on La Palma with its lava, ash and earthquakes, the Cumbre Vieja volcano has come to a standstill on the island in recent days. Experts have officially declared that the eruption was over by Christmas Day. Some media outlets, and even Spanish President, said it was the volcano version of a holiday gift. Still, it’s hard to think of anything that has caused such a tragedy as gift-giving.

In reality, Cumbre Vieja’s activity ceased 10 days ago, arousing feelings of tentative hope among residents who witnessed the volcanic eruption. longest eruption in 375 years. However, scientists warned that they could not certify the eruption as over until volcanic activity ceased for a 10-day period. At 3:00 PM local time on Saturday, Spain National Geographic Institute gave the official confirmation.

The final chapter of Cumbre Vieja has been written. The eruption, which began on September 19, ended on December 13, and lasted 85 days and 8 hours.

“What I want to say today can be said in just four words: the eruption is over,” said Julio Pérez, the regional security chief of the Canary Islands, according to Reuters.

This aerial view shows a house covered in lava and ash following the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano in Las Manchas on the Canary Island of La Palma on December 14, 2021. Photo: Jorge Guerrero / AFP (Getty Images)

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Nevertheless, the end of the eruption doesn’t necessarily mean the end of some of the dangers associated with the event, the National Geographic Institute said in a statement. Spanish authorities declared that the emergency was not over, Spanish daily newspaper El Pais reported:, noting that there were still lava flows on the island with high temperatures and volcanic gases.

María José Blanco, the director of the National Geographic Institute in the Canary Islands, explained that all the indicators pointed to Cumbre Vieja running out of energy, but didn’t rule out a future reactivation.

While the end of the eruption was welcomed by residents on and around La Palma, it also brought into sharp focus the destruction of the volcano and highlighted the immense recovery effort needed. Cumbre Vieja covered approximately 3,009 acres of land (1,218 hectares) of lava, of which 914 acres (370 hectares) were crops. The volcano destroyed 1,676 buildings and buried 73.8 kilometers of highways.

An excavator removes ash from a street covered in lava and ash after the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano in Las Manchas on the Canary Island of La Palma on December 14, 2021. Photo: Jorge Guerrero / AFP (Getty Images)

More than 7,000 people have been evacuated from the island in the past three months. More than 2,300 of the evacuees were directly affected by the eruption. About 500 of those affected live in hotels and no longer have a home. In the meantime, other neighborhoods are filled with people living in RVs or plastic tents.

The Spanish government has said it will send about $453 million to help La Palma rebuild, and some residents and businesses say it will be slow to get where it’s needed. Authorities are working to ensure the areas are safe and have essential facilities in place before residents can return.

It won’t happen anytime soon, said Rubén Fernández, interim director of the Canary Islands Volcano Emergency Plan. El Pais, but the end of the eruption was the first step.

“There is a lot to do,” said Fernández.

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