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Tourists evacuated from hotel 

Tourists evacuated from hotel as red hot magma destroys houses on La Palma and snakes its way towards the coast.

More than 500 tourists have been evacuated from their hotel on the Canary island of La Palma as fears grow that a snaking line of red hot lava could soon hit the coastline.The volcanic eruption which began yesterday afternoon following a series of earthquakes, the largest measuring 4.2, is “causing havoc”, with 5,000 people being advised to leave their homes. Forest fires have also broken out.

The authorities say the next 48 hours will be crucial in determining how long the eruption will last.Around 100 houses already been affected by the magma river flowing down from the mountain area of Cumbre Vieja and more are in its direct line. At least eight homes have been totally destroyed. The surface temperature of the emitted lava is more than 1,000 degrees and the volcanic ash column reaches a height of 1500 metres.

“The lava flows are up to six metres  high and are advancing slowly but unstoppable,” said La Palma’s president, Mariano Hernández.Some of the shocked householders watched in horror as their homes were swamped by the lava, with one saying: “What a shame! All my life working for this…”But with the lava now threatening to reach the coast and cross one of the main motorways, the authorities fear even more damage will be caused. At this stage, no casualities have been reported.

A total of 700 people have now been evacuated as a precaution on the coast of Los Llanos de Aridane because the lava is threatening to spread to the main road that connects the capital of the municipality with Puerto Naos.

First deputy mayor and councillor for citizen security, Lorena Hernández, said among those evacuated are 500 tourists staying at an hotel in Puerto Naos.It is not yet known if any Brits have been affected but two German tourists said they were called down to reception yesterday afternoon. “They said we had little time to pack our things. The older people were very afraid as they had felt one of the tremors and left earlier.

“The eruption on La Palma is visible from the other Canary islands, including Tenerife and El Hierro, and messages of support are flooding in from all parts of Spain and beyond.

The volcano erupted at around 3.12pm on Sunday in the Cabeza de Vaca area, in the municipality of El Paso, and is pumping out between 6,000 and 9,000 tons of sulfur dioxide.President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has called for calm and the president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, cancelled his planned visit to New York to also travel to La Palma.

The Scientific Committee has recommended an exclusion radius of two kilometres around emission centres to minimise the risk of pyroclastic impacts and gas exposure.People on La Palma are also reminded that they should not go near lava flows due to the risk of being exposed to the gases, possible landslides and high temperatures.