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La Palma announces new lockdown for 3,000 as lava reaches the sea

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By Euronews  with AFP
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Members of UME (Military Emergency Unit) stand as lava flows from a volcano reaching the sea on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021.
Members of UME (Military Emergency Unit) stand as lava flows from a volcano reaching the sea on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021.   -   Copyright  Taner Orribo / AP

The government of the Canary Islands has declared a lockdown for nearly 3,000 on the island of La Palma due to the relentless stream of volcanic activity.

The decision comes as concerns grow about toxic gases that may arise from a third lava delta, as lava flows reached the sea on Monday.

The measure will be maintained for at least 24 hours.

This is the fourth time lava has reached the Atlantic Ocean since the volcano erupted just over two months ago.

Although sulfur dioxide emissions have reached a minimum since the eruption began, with between 900 and 1,300 tonnes per day, the wind from the west and southwest has caused air quality problems in the municipalities to the east, mainly Santa Cruz de La Palma, Breña Alta, and Breña Baja.

Despite the lava adding an additional 43 hectares to the island since the Cumbre Vieja volcano began erupting in mid-September, the eruption also destroyed more than 2,000 properties and forced the evacuation of 7,000 people as a precaution.

The destruction caused is immeasurable according to the Spanish government, which pledged €225 million in aid.

The lava has also been destructive to farmland, with banana trees on the island being a particular target for the lava.

Banana crops are one of the main crops on the island. In the past three weeks, it is estimated that the island has lost over €103 million due to volcanic activity.