MADRID – Spain’s government classified the island of La Palma, which has been struck by a volcanic eruption, as a disaster zone on Tuesday, a move that will trigger emergency subsidies and other support measures.
The government announced a first package of 10.5 million euros ($12.30 million), which includes around 5 million euros to buy houses, with the rest to acquire furniture and essential household goods, government spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez told reporters on Tuesday.
Lava has been slowly flowing down the volcano’s western flank toward the sea since Sept 19, destroying almost 600 houses as well as churches and banana plantations in La Palma, which neighbours Tenerife in the Canary Islands archipelago off North Africa.
Hundreds of people in coastal villages remain hunkered down in anticipation of lava emitted in previous days reaching the sea and releasing toxic gas.
($1 = 0.8537 euros)