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Canary Islands eruption could last for three months

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A volcanic eruption in Spain’s Canary Islands could last three months, experts have said.

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said that the eruption on the island of La Palma and its aftermath could last for up to 84 days.

The institute said it had looked at calculations of the length of previous eruptions on the archipelago, which like the latest eruption were followed by heavy lava flows and lasting seismic activity.

This means residents could still be at risk of earthquakes, lava flows, toxic gases, volcanic ash and acid rain.

For a fifth day, lava flowing down the slopes of the volcano engulfed houses, schools and banana plantations, although more slowly than in previous days.

Since last Sunday’s eruption, powerful rivers of lava, up to six meters high, have swallowed up 185 buildings, mostly homes in the countryside.

Levels of toxic gases emitted by the volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma are not dangerous for humans, Canary Islands’ Chief Vulcanologist Miguel Angel Morcuende said on Wednesday.

“There is no problem with the sulphur levels. The readings being taken are not dangerous for human health,” he said.

Spanish banking associations offered to provide vacant properties held by banks to people who have lost their homes.

Local authorities have warned people to clean vegetables and clothes to avoid ingesting the toxic ash.

A cloud of sulphur dioxide is expected to move east in the coming hours over the rest of the Canary archipelago, the Iberian peninsula and the Mediterranean.

Photo – A house damaged by large amounts of volcanic lava is seen in the village of Todoque, La Palma, Canary Islands. EPA-EFE/Ramon de la Rocha

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