For the royal couple, the large gate of the barracks of El Fuerte on the black cliffs above the Atlantic coast opens immediately.

Since Sunday, the white military building has been the strictly shielded refuge for some of the 6,800 people who fled the lava masses of the volcano on the other side of the island.

On Thursday afternoon Felipe and Letizia drove there from La Palma airport to talk to the people who have become homeless.

The disaster also affected many of them mentally, which is why visitors are usually kept away.

A surprised old woman only recognizes the king when he briefly takes off his FFP2 mask.

Hans-Christian Rößler

Political correspondent for the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb, based in Madrid.

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Soon the last of the displaced will have left the evacuation centers set up by the authorities in Santa Cruz and Los Llanos de Aridane. On Thursday, more than 100 moved to a hotel on the southern tip of the island. But the vacation rentals with a total of 17,000 beds, which also accommodate rescue workers, are fully booked. On Thursday only one hostel bed could be reserved online in El Paso. Most of them have therefore only found accommodation with relatives and friends. However, this is not a permanent solution. The island council has already bought 73 apartments. Banks and private individuals have made further properties available.

But it's not just missing a roof over your head. In the Severo Rodríguez sports hall in Los Llanos, the shoes are neatly lined up according to size on the seats in the spectator stands. Aside from new underwear, there are more clothes than enough. In front of the modern building in the largest city in the west of the island, locals continue to bring sacks of relief supplies past. “You have to do something if you have been spared yourself. You feel so helpless, ”says a Llanos resident. There is currently a lack of personal care products, towels, gluten-free foods, baby food and face masks, says a volunteer.

Entrepreneurs, supermarkets, telephone companies and banks are also helping to establish an aid network - with food and stalls for the animals and toys for the children. Donation accounts have been set up. The outbreak triggered a wave of solidarity that has long since reached beyond the island. On Thursday, star chef José Andrés came to the island with his World Central Kitchen initiative to cook a festive stew for hundreds of rescue workers and displaced persons.

In Llanos, the banana farmers wait impatiently at a police cordon until they are finally allowed to go back to their plantations. “This may be the last harvest. Nobody knows what comes next, ”says one of them. Others reported that irrigation was no longer working properly. Usually the farmers check their fields every day, but soon the lava masses could also block the access roads. More than two thirds of the jobs in the area depend on the small, aromatic bananas, according to the Cupalma cooperative. Since Wednesday, the lava has been moving more slowly than before towards the "Sea of ​​Bananas" on the Atlantic shore, one of the most fertile and productive growing areas on the island.

Some scientists believe it is possible that the destructive tide will stop before the coast. But that depends on whether the eruptions decrease and the lava does not look for new paths. Further up in Todoque, firefighters with heavy equipment try to divert it as if it were just a torrential torrent. The excruciating wait to see whether they lose everything or get away with minor losses will be weeks for many. After that, even greater patience is required. Experts suggest it will take months for the volcanic rock to cool and years for the soil to be stable enough to build and plant on again. In many cases it will be cheaper to rebuild the houses elsewhere than to laboriously remove the cooled lava. 15 to 20 years could passuntil the vegetation returns on the scree fields.