The volcanic eruption coming out of La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands is just jaw dropping. The volcano erupted on Sunday, spewing fountains of lava and ash.
Footage obtained by The Associated Press showed plumes of black and white smoke rising up from the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge, where scientists had been closely following the accumulation of molten lava below the surface, according to reports. Lava flows destroyed isolated houses and threatened to reach the coast.
More than 5,000 People Evacuated
The island had been on alert for a possible eruption for the past week - with nearby residents being advised to evacuate. Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres told TVE that no injuries had been reported so far.
Spain's Civil Guard have evacuated more than 5,000 people, including around 500 tourists staying in a hotel in the nearby Puerto de Naos. The Civil Guard warned that it may need to evacuate up to 10,000 residents in total, according to The Daily Express.
The Lava Reached Some Homes
Mayor Sergio RodrÃguez said 300 people in immediate danger were evacuated, roads were closed and authorities urged the curious not to approach the area. The lava eventually reached some homes, causing at least one chalet with a tower to crumble. Authorities warned that the lava flows could also threaten the municipalities of El ParaÃso, AlcalÃ¡ and surrounding areas, according to ITV.
"The lava is moving towards the coast and the damage will be material. According to experts there are about 17-20 million cubic meters of lava," Victor said.
Officials have warned residents to "stay in your houses if there is volcanic ash nearby due to the risk that ash could cause injuries to the respiratory tract, eyes and open wounds, as well as skin irritation".
Spanish Prime Minister Assures that the Citizens Can Rest Easy
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro SÃ¡nchez postponed his trip to New York for the UN General Assembly in order to travel to La Palma.
He arrived in La Palma late on Sunday for talks with the islands' government on managing the eruption.
"We have all the resources (to deal with the eruption) and all the troops, the citizens can rest easy," he said.
Streams of Molten Lava Pouring Down the Hill
After nightfall, video footage showed fountains of lava shooting hundreds of meters into the sky, and at least three incandescent orange rivers of molten rock pouring down the hill, tearing gashes into woods and farmland, and spreading as they reached lower ground, reported Reuters.
One lava stream, which measures around tens of meters wide, has reportedly already started engulfing houses in the village of El Paso.
The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported the initial eruption near the southern end of the island, which saw its last eruption in 1971.