Europe

Spain orders 33,000 to seal themselves indoors over toxic gas from volcano

Spain has ordered more than 30,000 people to stay indoors on La Palma island after toxic gases from a volcano sent an explosion of smoke and ash into the air.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano came to life on Sunday after reports of low-level activity for 85 days since Sept. 19, according to The Associated Press

The regional government of Spain’s Canary Islands ordered residents to lockdown in three municipalities after high levels of sulfur dioxide in the air were recorded, Agence France Presse reported.

“Close the doors, windows, shutters and prevent any air coming in from the outside,” the regional government said in a statement per AFP. “Confine yourself, if possible, in the rooms located furthest inside,” it added.

Local officials also told residents to turn off air conditioning and heating and use tape to seal doors and windows.

“If you find yourself outside, be aware that a car is not a safe place and confine yourself to the first building you find,” the statement said.

According to Stavros Meletlidis of the Spanish National Geographic Institute, the current length of eruption was longer than any on La Palma since records started more than 500 years ago, per Reuters.

The European satellite program Copernicus said in a damage assessment that 1,193 hectares of land and more than 3,000 buildings are being affected by the lava. It added that more than 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since Sept. 19. 

The AP said that Spanish experts had previously stated that the La Palma eruption could last up to three months. 

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