Huge clouds of steam rise into the air as hot lava hits the water amid the risk of explosions and toxic gases.
Hot lava from an erupting volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma has reached the Atlantic Ocean, nine days after it began flowing down the mountain, destroying buildings and destroying crops.
Photographs showed huge clouds of white steam rising from the Playa Nueva area as lava made contact with water late Tuesday evening amid fears of explosions and gas release toxic.
“The lava flow reached the sea at Playa Nueva,” the Volcanic Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) said on its Twitter account. The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on September 19.
The Canary Islands Emergency Service urged people outside to immediately find a safe place to shelter.
“When the lava reaches the sea, the lockdown must be strictly observed,” said Miguel Angel Morcuende, director of the Pevolca intervention committee, earlier on Tuesday.
Cumbre Vieja’s lava devoured everything in its path, including nearly 600 homes and 21 km (13 miles) of road. The lava now covers 258 hectares (637 acres), mostly agricultural land, including banana plantations, according to a European Union satellite monitoring agency.
No deaths or serious injuries have been reported so far following the rapid evacuation of more than 6,000 people. Three coastal villages were also locked down on Monday before the lava reached the Atlantic Ocean.
Spain on Tuesday classified La Palma as a disaster area, a decision that will trigger financial support for the island, which is home to 85,000 people and is heavily dependent on agriculture and tourism. The airport was closed for days due to concerns over the risk to planes from volcanic ash.
The government announced the first package of 10.5 million euros ($12.3 million), which includes about five million euros ($5.8 million) to buy houses, the rest to acquire properties. furniture and essential household items, government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez said.
More aid, including for the reconstruction of public infrastructure, will be sent once the current emergency is over, she added.
A resident who was evacuated last week from the village of Tacande de Arriba was delighted to find his house still standing and his pet cats unharmed.
“It’s a good feeling, a fantastic feeling,” said Gert Waegerle, 75, who fled the advancing lava with his five turtles on Friday but had to leave the cats behind.
“I’m super happy because, in the end, everything went well.”