The Canary Islands, my home, are witnessing a spectacle of nature that brings devastating situations for thousands of inhabitants of La Palma. The island of La Palma is located in the Atlantic Ocean, it is of volcanic origin like all Canary Islands, It is well known by the Canaries as "The pretty island", because it is a green island with many trees, on September 19 the Cumbre Vieja Volcano erupted, since that day the lava from the volcano has destroyed hundreds of homes, plantations, corrals for animals and roads, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents of the island and approximately 400 tourists have been evacuated to the island of Tenerife.
Like the rest of the islands, La Palma is a tourist place par excellence, however, agriculture represents 15% of the island's income, the volcano has affected many crops where the island's farmers have rushed to save banana, avocado and grape crops before the lava reaches the plantations, which many islanders depend on for their livelihoods.
Faced with this situation, the Canarian people united and organized, creating solidarity platforms where food, clothing, appliances, monetary donations, etc. are collected.
Solidarity organizations, the police and fire brigade ensure the safety of the neighbors, who have lost their houses, their belongings, their memories, so far due to the good organization and the early warning of the scientists there have been no deaths or wounded.
It took ten days for the lava from the La Palma volcano to find its way to the sea. A route of more than six kilometers in which, meter by meter, the lava has spread over about 340 hectares of land, in addition, the ash has spread over thousands of hectares around the volcano, especially affecting the towns of Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Tazacorte. In its wake, the lava devastated 500 hectares, buried at least 1,281 buildings.
According to Nerea Martines, a geographer, an expert on volcanoes in an interview she gave to a local newspaper:
«The damage that this volcano is causing has nothing to do with that of the historic eruptions in the Canary Islands. This is much more destructive ”, points out the expert who recalls that, in these first three weeks, the volcano born in Cabeza de Vaca has already emitted more lava than Teneguía (1971) and San Juan (1949) combined. (Martines, N, 2021)
Let's hope that the volcanic situation improves for the Island of Palma, and that the solidarity actions do not end, that our privilege does not cloud our empathy. I miss my home in the Canary Islands and from here I wish everything to improve, and I know that the volcano that initially seems destructive it will create life as it has from the past.
As the hymn of the Canary Islands says: I am a volcano, saltpeter, and lava.
Photos: Carlos Solinis Camalich