For weeks the volcano Cumbre Vieja has been spitting fire on La Palma. The islanders suffer primarily from the natural spectacle.
La Palma – La Palma simply does not come to rest: weeks ago the volcano Cumbre Vieja erupted on the small Canary Island *. When exactly the explosions will stop or how much magma the giant will spit out – all questions for which there is currently no answer. One thing is certain, however: the approximately 85,000 residents were particularly hard hit by the natural disaster. One world-Doku focuses on the current situation of the crisis-ridden islanders.
Volcanic eruption on La Palma: A tenth of the residents lose at home
In terms of its size, the Cumbre Vieja is not comparable to other mighty volcanoes in Europe – but there is one essential difference. “Here in La Palma many people and their houses had to be evacuated, that was not the case with other volcanic eruptions,” explains Dr. Edgar Zorn from the Geo Research Center Potsdam.
At the foot of the mountain, many only have to flee. Almost a tenth of all islanders will lose their homes. Policeman Raul Campillo also experienced countless individual fates that get under your skin. Together with the fire department, he tried to convince an elderly couple to leave their house. “But they didn’t want that. The question kept coming up: where should we go? Where shall we sleep? Such scenes just touch you, ”reports the officer. He is currently on patrol to guard houses from looters.
La Palma: volcanic eruption destroys the banana harvest – and thus existences
But these are only one problem among many. Because the volcanic ash * leaves nothing untouched – and thereby endangers countless livelihoods. Half of the island’s entire economy depends on what the huge banana plantations throw off. Now the islanders’ export hits are in danger. The dust and despair are written on the face of the harvest workers.
“The volcano is beautiful to look at, but the ash is a real disaster,” reports banana farmer Lulo Duque. “We have to go back to each plant, but we’re trying to save what can be saved,” says Duque. Blue plastic bags are supposed to keep the coarsest dirt away from the fruits. Nevertheless, each banana now has to be cleaned individually before packing. The appearance of the fruit is also badly affected by the ash. Banana dealer Augusto Cacares throws a desperate look into the factory floor. “We have never had so many unusable fruits as now.” He is already expecting up to 30 percent less yield.
Volcanic eruption on La Palma casts a spell over photographers
A few kilometers further on, in the municipality of Tazacorte, Gabriel Contarmann has old memories of the volcanic eruption. He looks worriedly into the camera: “This time it’s much worse than 50 years ago.” Everyone knows someone who has lost everything. “We immediately felt the tremor and immediately ran out of the street. We were afraid our house would collapse, ”reports Contarmann. Many islanders worry that there will be enough work next year. That will ultimately determine the duration of the outbreak.
The nightmare of the local residents also casts a spell over photographers. Some have traveled to the island because of the fascinating natural forces. Fascination and fear: They are currently hand in hand in La Palma. Once the eruption is over, the remains could actually become tourist attractions. Thus, in the end, there remains the hope of an end that can also be a beginning. Even if nobody knows when that will be.
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