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Spanish Royals, PM meet victims of La Palma volcano eruption

Madrid, Sep 24 (IANS) Spain’s King Felipe VI, his wife Queen Letizia and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez travelled to La Palma to meet the people affected by the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island.

Since the eruption began on Sunday afternoon, the lava has destroyed over 350 houses and covered over 165 hectares of land to a depth of up to 15 metres, reports Xinhua news agency.

Over 6,000 people from the island’s population of just over 80,000 had been evacuated, including the inhabitants of Todique, which lies on the path of the lava flow.

The flow has been descending towards the sea at a speed of approximately four metres an hour.

Firefighters are currently attempting to channel the flow away from as many homes as possible, while emergency services are working to clear volcanic ash off flat roofs to avoid the danger of collapse.

Thursday’s trip was the Prime Minister’s second visit to La Palma in five days.

The regional president of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, and Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska were also present during the visit.

This military installation has been turned into temporary accommodation for those displaced by the eruption.

Afterwards, King Felipe and Prime Minister Sanchez also spoke to representatives of the security forces and rescue services, who are overseeing operations.

On Wednesday, the Vulcanology Institute of the Canary Islands (INVOLCAN) estimated the eruption could last for 24-84 days.

The volcano currently emits between 6,140 and 11,500 tons of sulphur dioxide (SO2) every day.

Although six roads on the island have been closed due to the eruption, La Palma airport remains open.

–IANS

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