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The eruption of Mount Palma was announced after a three-month devastation by Reuters

© Reuters. PHOTOGRAPHY: A drone pilot takes a photo of the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupting 89 days later, in Las Manchas, El Paso, on the Canary Islands of La Palma, Spain, December 17, 2021 REUTERS / Borja

By Nathan Allen and Silvio Castellanos

MADRID (Reuters) – Scientists announced the eruption of La Palma in Spain ended Saturday, allowing islanders to rest for almost 100 days since Mount Cumbre Vieja began to erupt volcanoes, rocks, and ashes and lift the lives of thousands of people.

After taking action on September 19, the mountain fell silent on Monday Dec. 13 but the elders, fearing to raise up false hopes, stood up until Christmas Day to explain everything.

“What I want to say today can be summed up in just four words: The explosion is over,” Canary Islands defense chief Julio Perez told a news conference on Saturday.

During the eruption, the lava flowed down the side of the mountain, engulfing homes, churches, and banana plantations that account for about half of the island’s wealth. Although the property was destroyed, no one was killed.

Maria Jose Blanco, director of the National Geographic Institute on the Canaries, said all indications were that the explosion had no effect but did not say it would start again.

About 3,000 homes were destroyed by the 1,219-hectare lava – equivalent to about 1,500 football fields – according to an emergency.

Of the 7,000 people displaced, many have returned home but most of the remaining homes are uninhabited due to ash disposal. With many roads closed, some fields are now accessible by sea.

A German couple, Jacqueline Rehm and Juergen Doelz, were among those forced to flee their homes in a rented house in the village of Todoque for seven weeks in a small boat.

“We couldn’t save anything, no chairs, no paintings, it’s all under the lava now,” said Rehm, 49, adding that he had moved to nearby Tenerife after Christmas.

“I don’t know if it’s over. I don’t even believe in the beast,” he said.

The rumbling of the lava that served as a constant reminder of the eruption must have ceased and the islanders no longer had to carry umbrellas and protective glasses to the ashes, but a more serious clean-up operation was just beginning.

The government has promised more than 400 million euros ($ 453 million) to rebuild but some business owners have complained that the money is being delayed.

($ 1 = 0.8836 euros)

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