Residents of the Canary Island village of Tzacourt had a ringside seat, but were shocked and reluctant onlookers, considering Friday’s near-relaxed spectacular eruption of La Palma’s Cumbre Vieja volcano.
“There’s nothing beautiful in it,” said 70’s pensioner Jose Carlos Bautista Martín, who watched the flames with fellow villagers as the volcano continued to spew waves of hot lava into the air.
“What it leaves behind is black, dark lava and an intense flame that looks like it will last forever, as if it were the very devil,” he adds, with an explosion that wrought the airplane-like cacophony. has wreaked havoc and ousted thousands from their homes.
The Tzacourt harbor provides the perfect vantage point to spy the mouth of the volcano that dominates the island, a popular vacation destination, as well as piles of ash and lava falling into the sea hundreds of meters below its summit.
Even as experts estimated as of Thursday the debris had covered an area larger than 25 football pitches, raising concerns over deteriorating air quality in surrounding residential areas since the eruption began on September 19 , the volcano was sending tongues of molten rock flowing from its main cone.
Despite damage to countless homes and businesses, locals are coming together to show each other’s solidarity in times of crisis.
Down in the harbour, Jesus Guillermo Hernández Rodriguez, a 49-year-old fisherman, sweeps away the sticky black volcanic sand that has covered his ship.
“It’s a daily job, maintaining the boats,” Rodriguez sighs, rubbing his white beard in despair at the weather’s beating hands.
Even if he still tries to manage a minimal catch, whatever he picks up is “not edible because of the sand,” sticking to what he does deep. Color gun.
– What future? –
Hernandez usually catches around 3,000 euros a month, which he shares with a colleague, but this past fortnight is a virtual write-off and he expects more of the same for now as he costs worried about.
He explains that he works in “one of the best fishing areas on the west of the island”.
But now it is covered with molten rock.
The region was already reeling from the effects of the coronavirus, and when La Palma erupted for the first time since 1971, Tzacourt was keeping itself afloat financially.
Everyone in the village knows someone who has suffered material losses, from lava-drenched homes to their jobs in the fishing industry, to those working in agriculture or tourism, in addition to being paralyzed.
“My son comes back home at night and says to me, ‘Mom, another day I didn’t work because we didn’t have a single table,'” says Nieves Acosta, 56, of her son, who is a waiter. Is. a restaurant.
The Acosta brothers lost their home, the straw that broke the camel’s back leaving him in a flood of tears as he and the family grapple with a rising tide of other problems.
“You talk about the future – but what is the future?” She cries.
“Agriculture is more of a hit than a hit if there is no fishing. What will happen to our children?”
– rain of ash –
The eruption brought dozens of journalists and scientists to rake on the island, but their excited curiosity contrasts with the grim and lined faces of the locals.
“Here, people were happy, but now they’re hanging their heads,” says Cristina Sanchez, who lives in the nearby Los Llanos de Ariadne commune.
The “ash rain” from the volcano is driving me crazy,” says Nieves, who works at a retirement home and who is taking a break over a coffee with Jesus, a friend who lost his job at a banana export firm. has given.
Massive banana plantations dominate the scenery in Tzacourt – the export of the fruit is one of La Palma’s main earners.
Nieves, who refuses to give her surname, says she has little hope for the future after the volcano “destroyed everything”.
She says she simply hopes that “when it’s all over, they’ll all come” and help bring the shattered community back together.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)