A year on, volcano scars mark Spain’s La Palma island

Sep 18, 2022, 4:41 PM | Updated: Sep 19, 2022, 5:11 am
FILE - Scientists from CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) take geophysics measurements on the...

FILE - Scientists from CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) take geophysics measurements on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain on Nov. 13, 2021. As officials held ceremonies Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 to commemorate the first anniversary of the start of what was one of the most televised volcanic eruptions of the century in Europe, the Spanish island located in the Canary Islands archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa is not the same, geologically, economically, or socially. (AP Photo/Taner Orribo, File)

(AP Photo/Taner Orribo, File)

MADRID (AP) — A six-kilometer black lava scar crossing Spain’s La Palma island remains as testimony to the three-month-long volcano eruption that may have left no casualties but did wreak havoc in the lives of many.

As officials held ceremonies Monday to commemorate the first anniversary of the start of what was one of the most televised volcanic eruptions of the century in Europe, the Spanish island located in the Canary Islands archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa is not the same, geologically, economically, or socially.

Under the thick molten rock slab — still slowly cooling down from the initial 1,140 degrees Celsius (2,084 degrees Fahrenheit) — some 3,000 buildings were buried along with many banana plantations, roads and irrigation systems.

Alongside agriculture, tourism is critical to the island’s economy. But half of the 8,000 registered places of accommodation remain closed due to the presence of poisonous gases — the same reason that keeps around 170 local people still living in hotel rooms.

The former touristic spot of Puerto Naos is described by local newspapers as a ghost town. The lava didn’t reach the town, but the high concentration of CO2 gases forced the evacuation of its 1,000 residents. Most are staying with relatives, and all continue to wonder when they will be allowed back home.

La Palma — population 84,790 — has become the focus of many politicians and dignitaries. Cabinet members including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez have visited the island 60 times, mostly to announce new aid packages. Queen Letizia recently chose La Palma for her yearly visit to a school at the beginning of the academic year.

Public funds to aid reconstruction totaling 566 million euros ($564 million) have been delivered by the government.

Yet a grouping of those affected by the volcano plans to mark the anniversary Monday with a protest over what they consider bad management of the funds.

Others resent the fact that when the roar of the volcano died down after 85 days, solidarity disappeared.

“Politicians don’t really care about us,” said banana farmer Juan Carlos Rodríguez. He said the subsidies were insufficient.

However, some entrepreneurs are finding ways to reshape their businesses and exploit the eruption.

AstroLaPalma used to offer nighttime stargazing programs under the clear Canary Island sky. Now, owner Ana García guides amazed visitors through the volcanic ashes.

The volcano didn’t really have a name before it erupted, though it was popularly known as Cumbre Vieja — the name of the surrounding national park. This summer, island residents voted to call it Tajogaite — the name of the area in the ancient Guanche language.

It’s the first year of a new era for the volcanic islands, and locals are also determined to thrive.

Just two months ago, the islanders were able to claim a minor victory over the volcano with the opening of a new road built over the lava rock to connect the sides of the Aridane Valley that was split in two by the eruption.

The road takes two hours off the drive to reach isolated houses, shortens kids’ school routes and allows access to the surviving banana plantations in the valley.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A Ukrainian serviceman inspects a kindergarten classroom with a sign "Z" on the door that was used ...
Associated Press

Drone attack hits Ukraine; US vows ‘consequences’ over nukes

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — An overnight drone strike near the Ukrainian port of Odesa sparked a massive fire and explosion, the military said Monday, hours after the United States vowed to take decisive action and promised “catastrophic consequences” if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The airstrike was the latest in a series of drone […]
1 day ago
Margaryta Tkachenko, 29 years old, feeds her 9-month-old daughter Sophia in the recently retaken to...
Associated Press

Hardship remains for Ukrainian town emerging from occupation

IZIUM, Ukraine (AP) — Rainwater is for showers and dishes. Scavenged wood is for the cooking fires. But almost nothing keeps out the autumn chill in homes without windows. Russian forces controlled Izium for six months before being forced to retreat two weeks ago in a Ukrainian counteroffensive. On one of the last days of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Pakistan army helicopter crashes in southwest, 6 killed

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani army helicopter crashed during an overnight mission in the country’s southwest, killing all six military personnel who were on board, including both pilots, the military said Monday. The crash took place in the district of Hernai, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. […]
1 day ago
A worker cooks burgers at Zing Burger store in Budapest, Hungary, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022. Richard K...
Associated Press

Lights out, ovens off: Europe preps for winter energy crisis

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — As Europe heads into winter in the throes of an energy crisis, offices are getting chillier. Statues and historic buildings are going dark. Bakers who can’t afford to heat their ovens are talking about giving up, while fruit and vegetable growers face letting greenhouses stand idle. In poorer eastern Europe, people […]
1 day ago
FILE - A woman shows her ballot to journalists prior to voting in a referendum in Luhansk, Luhansk ...
Associated Press

Ukrainians scared by Russia’s preordained referendums

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — After seven weary months of war, many Ukrainians fear more suffering and political repression awaits them as referendums orchestrated by the Kremlin with help from gun-toting police portend Russia’s imminent annexation of four occupied regions. Many residents fled the regions before the referendums got underway, scared about being forced to vote […]
1 day ago
Villager women empty their cotton filled shawls on a pile after collecting it from cotton crops, wh...
Associated Press

Pakistan floods raise fears of hunger after crops wrecked

KHAIRPUR, Pakistan (AP) — Like every year, Arz Mohammed had planted his little patch of land in southern Pakistan with cotton. The crop would earn him enough so that, as he puts it, his family of five wouldn’t be reduced to begging. Then came the deluge. Pakistan’s massive floods this summer collapsed Mohammed’s home and […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
A year on, volcano scars mark Spain’s La Palma island