The lava flow from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which erupted on Sunday on the island of La Palma, in the Spanish Canary archipelago, destroyed 320 buildings and 154 hectares of land, according to a new assessment provided on Wednesday by the Copernicus system.
These figures, based on "radar images", are up sharply compared to those communicated Tuesday evening by Copernicus, the European system of geospatial measurements, which then reported 185 buildings destroyed over an area estimated at 103 hectares.
According to authorities in La Palma, those numbers are expected to continue to rise over the next few hours as the lava flow continues its slow but inexorable advance towards the Atlantic Ocean.
The arrival of the lava in the sea was originally scheduled for Monday evening, but was delayed due to the slowing of the flow.
It is very feared, because it could give rise to explosions of pieces of lava, waves of boiling water or the emanation of toxic gases, according to the United States Institute of Geological Studies (USGS).
"These are really difficult days"
"In the last few hours," the lava flow "has slowed down a lot," explained David Calvo, of the Canary Islands Volcanological Institute (Involcan). “Now she's moving 300 meters per hour, maybe less, because she's reached a very flat area and she's gaining height. There are areas where it is already 15 meters ”high, he added. This eruption, the first since 1971 on this island of about 85,000 inhabitants, led to the evacuation of 6,100 people, including 400 tourists. The 5,700 other evacuees, residents of the island, were forced to leave their homes sometimes within minutes. There was no casualty.
"These are really difficult days," said the president of the local authority of La Palma, Mariano Hernández Zapata on Twitter.
"Listening to those who have lost everything and those who know they are going to lose everything is frustrating."
According to the Involcan, which is based on the eruptions that have already occurred on the island, the eruption of Cumbre Vieja could last "between 24 and 84 days".
The volcanic eruption in the Canaries leads to the evacuation of 6,000 people, the lava expected on the coast
A volcanic eruption in the Canaries destroys a hundred houses on an island of La Palma, 5,000 people evacuated