The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canary Island of La Palma has increased, causing flights to be canceled and officials to order additional evacuations, bringing the total number of evacuees to about 6,000.
“According to the records of the volcano surveillance that has been carried out since the commencement of the eruption, the most explosive period of the eruptive process took place today afternoon,” the regional Canary Island administration said in a statement Friday evening.
Officials said that the latest 160 persons evacuated were relocated from three more villages and will not be permitted to return to their houses to reclaim their possessions due to the “development of the volcanic catastrophe.”
After many flights to and from La Palma were postponed on Friday afternoon owing to “ash accumulation” from the region’s recent volcano activity, Spain’s airport operator AENA announced on Saturday that the airport was “inoperative.”
AENA, a state-owned organization in Spain that operates airports and heliports, went on to say that “cleaning efforts have begun,” but that “the situation may alter at any minute.”
“The objective is to ensure operational safety,” AENA added.
“The rest of Canarias’ airports are open for business. If you must fly, check with your airline regarding the status of your flight “AENA came to an end.
Binter, a Canary Islands-based airline, also stated through Twitter on Saturday that it would not fly into and out of La Palma due to the presence of volcanic ash. However, the airline has stated that other flights to La Gomera and Tenerife have resumed due to improved weather conditions.
Saturday marked the eighth consecutive day of volcanic eruptions on La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez stayed on the island Friday morning, where he has been for the majority of the week since the eruptions began last Sunday.
On Friday, Sanchez informed reporters that the Spanish government had granted “urgent financial aid for accommodation” for displaced persons, as well as financial aid for those affected to acquire household goods.
According to reports in Spanish media, Angel Victor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, said on Thursday that the lava has already destroyed 400 homes and buildings.
On Thursday, Spain’s King and Queen traveled from Madrid to La Palma, where they met with evacuees and emergency services.