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Red-hot lava river threatens to engulf Todoque 

The red-hot lava flow gushing from La Palma’s volcanic explosion is now threatening to wipe out an entire town.

All 1,200 residents of Todoque have been ordered to leave their homes immediately because of the imminent danger to life and property.

Most have packed as much as possible into cars, lorries or vans, taking only their most precious of possessions, clothes, food, personal items and animals.

The huge wall of lava is aimed straight at Todoque, in the municipality of Los Llanos de Aridane, and is moving at a speed of 120 metres per hour. The magma is heading towards the sea and nothing in its way is safe from destruction.

Firefighters say they can do nothing to stop it and can only hope that as few properties as possible will be swallowed up.

The town includes a church, blocks of flats, modern villas with pools and a school.

“The reality that we are witnessing every day that we perform our functions as firefighters on the island of La Palma is harsh and it is difficult for us to assume the impossibility of stopping what nature executes slowly,” said a Consortium spokesman. “We will continue working in such a situation with churned stomachs, hoping that the damage will be as minor as possible.”

Technical director of the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca), Miguel Ángel Morcuende said they didn’t know what time the lava would reach the sea later today or tomorrow but it would be slowed down because of “obstacles in its way”. One of these is Todoque.

There are now more than 6,000 people displaced because of the lava flows, many of them being put up in shelters. Mr. Morcuende said they were safe and being well looked after, with plenty of food to go round.

Several roads have been affected by the lava.  Councillor for the Environment of the Cabildo de La Palma, Borja Perdomo said:  “The lava has buried more than 500 metres of track.”

The lava flows from the La Palma eruption have already claimed 190 homes, representing an increase of 24 in the last few hours.

The Government of Spain, the Canary Islands and the Cabildo de La Palma have asked the population to refrain from circulating on the roads near the volcano and also from approaching the lava flows, because “the situation is not safe “, as the appearance of a new eruption mouth 900 metres from the main one demonstrated last night.

“We ask you for your safety and so that the emergency teams can carry out their work,” said the president of the Cabildo de La Palma, Mariano Hernández Zapata.