VIDEO: Homes destroyed by lava flow in La Palma

News

LAS PALMAS, Spain (CBS News) – The lava flow has destroyed about 100 houses so far, Mariano Hernandez, president of La Palma’s council, told Cadena Ser.

Reuters TV footage showed a house collapsing after lava ran down volcano’s slope.

About 20 houses were engulfed in the village of El Paso along with sections of roads, Mayor Sergio Rodriguez told state broadcaster TVE. The lava was spreading through neighboring villages, putting hundreds more at risk, he said.

The Canary Islands’ first volcanic eruption in 50 years has forced the evacuation of about 5,000 people, including around 500 tourists, officials said on Monday.

The volcano erupted on Sunday, shooting lava hundreds of meters into the air, engulfing houses and forests, and sending molten rock towards the Atlantic Ocean over a sparsely populated area of La Palma, the most northwestern island in the Canaries archipelago.

No fatalities have been reported but the volcano was still active on Monday. A Reuters reporter saw heavy smoke coming from the volcano and houses burning.

Officials said they were hopeful they would not need to evacuate any more people.

Despite the destruction, Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto told Canal Sur radio the eruption should be seen as an opportunity to entice visitors to the island.

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