Hotels and holiday homes to be used in La Palma
The Canary government is to use hotels and holiday apartments to accommodate hundreds of people who have lost their homes following the volcanic eruption on La Palma.
The first families have been taken to an hotel in the south of the island which has been left devastated by a huge wall of red-hot magma devouring everything in its path.
The luxury Hotel Teneguía Princess has given more than 100 beds.
The hotel said on its Facebook site: “We would like to inform you that our hotel is operating as usual. Its location on the island allows us to continue offering all our services and facilities. We are receiving reservations from other hotels located in the vicinity of the volcano and currently we still have availability for the next couple of weeks.”
One major hotel which has evacuated guests on La Palma is the four-star Hotel Sol La Palma because of potential danger from the volcanic activity.
Chief executive officer of Melia Hotels, Gabriel Escarrer tweeted: “More than 40 hours without sleep since the volcano exploded: regrouping, evacuating and hosting the clients in hotels in Tenerife, whilst keeping their smile and their main focus on the customers’ wellbeing. Soproud of the Sol la Palma team!”
More than 360 families on La Palma have now lost their homes or businesses, with entire villas, restaurants, blocks of flats and shops being engulfed by the magma. Many had been staying in sports centres since the eruption began on Sunday
The Canary government confirmed it is finalising arrangements for more hotels to be used, together with holiday homess and apartments. The various council areas affected by the eruption are also looking for land to build prefabricated buildings as alternative housing.
The hotels to be used will be in various locations all over the island and possibly elsewhere in the Canaries, such as Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
The displaced families will be able to stay there free of charge until a more permanent solution is found.
Spanish newspaper El Dia says the government is also looking at using accommodation on cruise ships docked in La Palma.
A spokesman for the Canary government said: “We consider this a more dignified arrangement for those who have lost everything.”
In addition, the regional government has bought 73 flats in two empty property blocks to accommodate those displaced.
The hotel association, Ashotel says it will do everything within its power to help and is in close contact with different representatives of various tour operators that work on the island.
“The evacuation has worked in an orderly manner and now it is time to attend to those who have lost their homes,” said its president Jorge Marichal.
Leader of the Canary government, Ángel Víctor Torres said: “We feel the anguish of those who do not know if they have lost their homes and the pain of those who have already lost them or are at the gates of that. . We cannot put ourselves in their place. I can only say that the entire Canary Islands and Spain are with these families and that, from the public point of view, we will do everything possible for their recovery. However, I recognise that there is no consolation when you see how this monster advances and we do not know where the lava will arrive in the midst of this anguish and tremendous pain. However, the Canaries and the Canary Islands are with them.”
La Palma airport is still operating but with some limitations and a number of inter-island delays.