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Thousands Homeless, Flights Canceled as Ash Spews

'Evolution of the volcanic emergency' continues on Spanish island of La Palma
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 25, 2021 5:30 AM CDT
Flights Canceled as 'Volcanic Emergency' Evolves
Vehicles are covered by ashes after a volcano eruption on the island of La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands on Friday.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

(Newser) – Flights to and from the Spanish island of La Palma were canceled Saturday because of an ash cloud spewing out of a volcano that has been erupting for a week. La Palma Airport operator Aena said on Twitter that plane traffic was suspended "due to the accumulation of ash" in the air. The company said other airports in the Canary Islands were still operational, per the AP. La Palma is one of the seven islands that make up the Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. The volcanic eruption that started last Sunday is the first in 50 years on La Palma, which has a population of about 85,000.

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The intensity of the volcanic eruptions has increased in recent days, prompting the evacuation of three additional villages on the island. Almost 7,000 people have had to leave their homes, and they've been told they can't return to get their belongings due to the "evolution of the volcanic emergency," the Guardian reports. Emergency crews pulled back from the volcano Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area. Lava flows have destroyed hundreds of buildings on the island's western side. The Guardian notes there have been no fatalities, but local banana crops, key to the island's economy, are at risk, as are thousands of related jobs. (There have been some small miracles.)

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