Residents on Canary Islands placed on lockdown amid continued volcanic eruption

Months after it began erupting, a volcano in the Canary Islands continues to spew lava.

As a result of toxic gases in the associated ash and smoke, more than 30,000 residents have been placed on lockdown.

“Prevent any air coming in from the outside”

The Canary Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa and are Spanish territories.

High levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas emitted from Cumbre Viejo on the island of La Palma prompted the temporary lockdown of three municipalities as the volcano remains active since an initial eruption in September.

The Canary Islands regional government issued a statement on Sunday, advising: “Close the doors, windows, shutters and prevent any air coming in from the outside. Confine yourself, if possible, in the rooms located furthest inside.”

To any locals outside during the emergency order, the statement asserted that “a car is not a safe place” and urged them to find shelter in a nearby structure. Lockdown measures also included turning off air conditioning and heating units as well as taping any gaps in windows and doors to create an airtight seal.

Reports indicate that no one has died as a result of the volcano, but more than 7,000 individuals have been evacuated as the lava flow has consumed nearly 3,000 buildings and massive swaths of farmland.

Eruption set to exceed expectations

According to Reuters, the lockdown did not last long. It was lifted after a few hours and residents were permitted to resume their normal activities.

After lasting for more than 85 days, the current eruption of Cumbre Veijo has reportedly already set a local record.

Experts have predicted that it could last up to three months, but it appears poised to break even those predictions with no signs of stopping. Aside from Sunday’s resurgence, however, volcanic activity has remained low in recent weeks.

A number of localized earthquakes have been reported along with the latest eruptions, though the vast majority were too small to be felt by most residents. Government officials are said to be working with the scientific community to take any steps deemed necessary to keep locals safe.

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