La Palma volcano eruption: Lockdown lifted for residents after toxic thick smoke passes

Around 3,500 residents of La Palma have been told they can leave their homes after authorities ended a lockdown caused when lava engulfed a cement plant, producing a thick cloud of smoke in the area.

Local emergency services ordered over 3,000 residents to remain indoors to avoid inhaling toxic fumes from the burning cement plant as it was being swallowed by the lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Monday.

On Tuesday, authorities said the smoke cloud had passed and the air quality had improved so the residents of El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane could leave their homes.

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The Cumbre Vieja volcano continues to erupt

As the incident was unfolding, Miguel Angel Morcuende, the technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan said the fire at the plant had “produced a very dense smoke that sullied the air”.

While local emergency services took to Twitter to urge residents to “lock down, if possible, in the most inner rooms.”

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La Palma’s airport remained open but 11 flights were cancelled on Tuesday and others were delayed, airport operator AENA said.

Meanwhile, there were 64 seismic movements on Tuesday, the strongest measuring 4.1, according to the Spanish National Geological Institute.

More on La Palma Volcano Eruption

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La Palma volcano: Eruption spews searing hot boulders the size of three-storey buildings

La Palma eruption: Authorities urge calm as new river of lava threatens more destruction

Lava from the eruption that began on 19 September has laid waste to a total area of nearly 600 hectares, according to Mr Morcuende.

After the volcano’s cone partially collapsed on Saturday, a new river of lava streamed towards the sea, devouring banana and avocado farms and most of the remaining houses in the town of Todoque.

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A map of the Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption on La Palma

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Drone footage shows lava trail of destruction

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Lava erupts from the La Palma volcano

In the three weeks since the eruption, torrents of molten rock have destroyed 1,186 buildings, the Canary Islands Volcanic Institute said.

About 6,000 people have been evacuated from their homes on La Palma, which has about 83,000 inhabitants.

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