THE Spanish Navy amphibious transport ship Castilla has docked in La Palma on the Canary Islands today, Saturday, November 6.
The vessel’s crew will help farmers gain access to their plots that have been cut off by the lava flow. While there, naval staff will transport the farmers- with the aid of landing craft- to their farms so they can check the state of their crops and irrigation systems. The banana growers association for the Canary Islands, ASPROCAN, estimates that around 1,500 of the island’s 5,000 owners of banana plantations have been financially ruined by the crisis.
Some residents in the northern part of La Palma will be allowed to return to their homes to collect any personal belongings from Saturday, on condition that they present id (DNI). Access to homes on the south side of the island still remains prohibited for the time being. Residents in El Charco, El Remo, Charco Verde, Puerto Naos, Las Norias and Las Hoyas must wait before conditions change to be able to revisit their homes.
PEVOLCA Technical Director Rubén Fernández explained this morning that authorities will take advantage of stable conditions to forge ahead with their clean-up operation during the next few days.
In other news, residents on La Palma who have been directly affected by the volcanic eruption have been granted some economic respite to help them get through the next few months. Interest on loans including mortgages will be frozen for the next six months at least, regardless of whether they are up to date with repayments or not.