Thu, 09 Dec 2021

SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA, La Palma: The volcanic eruption on La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands has claimed its first fatality, a 72-year-old man who died while clearing ash from his home in the town of Los Llanos de Aridane.

On Saturday, sources close to the Volcano Prevention Plan, which is managing the crisis, confirmed the man was a resident who had been authorized by emergency personnel to return to his home.

"Professional cleaning staff are working at all times. But it is evident that this is not enough and it is clear that many locals want to clean their roofs," explained Pevolca director Miguel ngel Morcuende on Saturday.

Morcuende expressed his condolences to the man's family and added that the cause of death will not be known until an autopsy is completed.

According to a press release on Saturday evening, Civil Guard officers also located a foreigner who had gone missing while hiking near the exclusion zone.

The volcano in La Palma's Cumbre Vieja natural park has been erupting for 57 days, as of Monday, making it the longest eruption experienced by the island in 343 years.

However, authorities said there are signs the eruption is easing. At a press conference on Sunday, Mara Jos Blanco, director of the IGN, said that the downward trend of key indicators "gives the impression that the system has increasingly less energy."

Still, the volcano continues to cause havoc on La Palma, with over 20 earthquakes striking the island on Sunday, including a 4.7-magnitude tremor.

Lava from the volcano has now covered more than 1,019 hectares of land and destroyed 1,460 buildings, according to the land registry.

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