27th Sep 2021 @ 8:48 am

The neighbourhoods of San Borondón, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and La Condesa have all been locked down given the possibility of the lava reaching the sea.

Photo: Agencia EFE

Those within the neighbourhoods must follow instructions from authorities and remain indoors with all openings closed. This is to prevent any harm caused by gases that are created when lava hits the ocean.

The President of the Canarian Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, stressed that this is a time of “maximum concern” and is necessary to take “extreme precautions” as the lava flow will reach the coast “imminently”. He explained that there are those in La Palma that have been ordered to stay indoors because of the gases produced by lava meeting the sea “can be dangerous”.

Torres admitted that the situation in La Palma is one of the hardest moments that he has experienced in his time as President of the Canary Islands.

Finally, Torres highlighted the outstanding solidarity of La Palma residents in the “worst of their suffering”.

What happens when lava meets the ocean?

If the lava flow from Cumbre Vieja makes it to the coast, the meeting of extremely hot lava with 20ºC water will create plumes of water vapour and hydrochloric acid.

Therefore, those that live close to the coast will have to stay indoors to prevent inhaling the gases.

Inhaling the gas can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory system (causing breathing difficulties, especially in those with pre-existing respiratory issues).

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