23 October 2021,   18:11
Thousands evacuated after volcano erupts on Spain’s Canary island

Authorities in Spain’s Atlantic Ocean island of La Palma have evacuated thousands of people after a volcano erupted on Sunday with lava flows destroying isolated houses and threatening to reach the coast, writes Al Jazeera.

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported the initial eruption shortly after 3pm near the southern end of the island, which saw its last eruption in 1971. New eruptions continued into Sunday night.

Víctor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, said that some 5,000 people had been evacuated from their homes. Most, he said, had found family or friends to take them in. The rest were in shelters.

La Palma, with a population of 85,000, is one of the eight volcanic islands in Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago off Africa’s western coast. At their nearest point, the islands are 100km (60 miles) from Morocco.

A 4.2-magnitude earthquake was recorded before the eruption, which took place in an area known as Cabeza de Vaca on the western slope as the ridge descends to the coast.