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La Palma residents grapple with devastation wrought by volcano

La Palma residents grapple with devastation wrought by volcano


Residents of Spain’s La Palma were struggling on Thursday to come to terms with the devastation wrought by the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which has been ejecting a destructive cocktail of ash, smoke and lava for more than 10 days.


Carmen Rodriguez, who lost her home in the village of Todoque, was caught off guard by the advancing column of molten rock.

“We never thought that the volcano was going to reach our house, never,” she said, recalling how she rushed to salvage belongings during a last-minute evacuation before the lava engulfed her home.

“There were so many people and difficulties, there was a queue. Thankfully we were able to take the washing machine, the fridge and a cooker that I recently bought.”

“I only ask that they give us a place to live, that they give us a habitable house, nothing more,” she said.

Some 6,000 people have been evacuated and are yet to return to their houses, a local government spokesperson said on Thursday.

Since erupting on Sept. 19 the volcano has destroyed more than 800 buildings, as well as banana plantations, roads and other infrastructure.

“It’s unimaginable that this would happen, and now we are living worse days than the COVID state, which was already a bit unreal,” said Dutch national Emilie Sweerts, who has lived on the island in the Canaries archipelago for six years.

“I really thought this would be my paradise island,” she said from her jewellery store in Tazacorte, a small coastal town which the lava ploughed through on its way to the sea, wrecking houses and farms.

After meandering downhill to the coast for nearly 10 days, the lava reached the ocean just before midnight on Tuesday a kilometre west of Tazacorte and has created a rocky outcrop more than 500 metres wide.

On reaching the water, the lava cools rapidly, binding to the cliffside and enlarging the island’s territory.

Despite fears of toxic gases from the lava reacting with the seawater, authorities said the air remained safe to breathe inland.

Emergency services warned that ash thrown out from the crater was blocking sunlight and reducing visibility.

Several villages near the coastline remained locked down as a precaution but banana farmers were allowed access to their plantations to tend their crops.

Reuters correspondents on the island said the eruption appeared to have calmed from around 1000 GMT and no lava was being expelled from the crater, though smoke continued to billow out.

Source:

Miguel Pereira and Borja Suarez via Reuters



On the Web This Week, 7 November

On the Web This Week, 7 November

On the web this week, indoor farming takes a step forward, a volcanic eruption creates a new island, and Chile’s last circus elephant retires.

Picture credit: Bowery

If you live in the U.S., the last time you ate a salad, the lettuce inside it almost certainly came from California or Arizona. But the geography of leafy greens is very slowly starting to change as the trend of indoor farming—growing greens in large warehouses using artificial light and automated technology—expands. The latest farm to open is in Baltimore. It’s the largest, so far, from the New York-based, tech-heavy startup Bowery.

Picture credit: GeoNet

An undersea volcanic eruption in the Tongan archipelago has sunk one island and created another one that is three times larger, according to a report by geologists released on Thursday.

Taaniela Kula, of the Tonga Geological Service, said the new island is estimated to be about 100 metres wide and 400 metres long, and is situated about 120 metres west of its now-submerged predecessor, Lateiki island.

Companies seeking to cut plastic use are tapping a vast source of raw materials: ocean garbage.

Coca-Cola Co. recently unveiled a bottle made in part of recycled marine litter. Interface Inc., the world’s biggest maker of carpet tiles, is weaving rugs with yarns produced from discarded fishing nets. Startups are raising funds to fish for plastics and make new products.

Picture credit: Julian Stratenschulte / Getty Images

Electrifying transportation is one of the biggest keys to solving the looming climate crisis. With more electric vehicles on the road and fewer gas-guzzlers, drivers burn less fossil fuels and put out fewer planet-heating gases into the atmosphere. But as electric vehicles become more popular, they’re posing another environmental challenge: what to do with their batteries once they’re off the road.

Picture credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

This week in Los Angeles, 15,000 people will be attending one of the biggest creativity conferences in the world, Adobe MAX. It’s not the kind of event that is normally associated with conservation, but this year is different. The creative community is getting involved in coral reef conservation and it might just help save an entire ecosystem.

Picture credit: Gregory Zamell/Shutterstock

Ramba the elephant spent 50 years all alone in a circus. The Asian elephant was first forced into circus life in Argentina and later in Chile. In 1997, she was “confiscated” from a circus called Los Tachuelas because she was suffering abuse and neglect.

Despite being “confiscated,” she actually had to stay with the circus, just wasn’t able to perform anymore. After many years of hard work on behalf of Chilean NGO Ecopolis and elephant experts Scott Blais and Kat Blais, Ramba was rescued and it marks the official end of performing circus elephants in Chile.

Picture credit: Apple TV Plus

Two movies this year feature prolonged scenes in which a dung beetle pushes a piece of poop in the middle of the African savannah. One of them is an emotional journey about a leader coming to terms with the full cycle of birth, life, and death, which ends with a poignant moment in the rain. The other is the live-action Lion King.

Apple TV Plus’ nature documentary The Elephant Queen does what Disney couldn’t: imbue emotional depth to its animal subjects and crafting a sweeping narrative across the African plains.

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