LA PALMA, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: An eruptive mouth expels lava and pyroclasts in the area of Los Llanos, on 20 September 2021, in El Paso, La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The volcanic eruption began yesterday at 16 hours in the area of Cabeza de Vaca (La Palma), just when seismic activity on the island of La Palma had reached the maximum since the beginning of the swarm a week ago, is currently with two fissures, separated about 200 meters, and eight mouths through which lava emerges. At least 15 homes are affected by the eruption early Monday and more than 5,000 people have been evacuated so far. Experts do not know when this eruption will end, which has left temperatures of 1,075 ° C in the rivers of lava from the volcano. (Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)

In pictures: The volcanic eruption devastating La Palma

A large volcanic eruption devastates the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano, situated in La Palma in the Canary Islands, started to spew hot lava and ash on 19 September 2021. Within hours, the area of Cumbre Vieja and the villages of El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane had to be evacuated, as lava made its way towards the sea.

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In the week before the eruption started, the island had been on high alert after more than 22,000 tremors had been reported in the area.

Lava continues to flow in the aftermath of the island’s first volcanic eruption in 20 years, destroying hundreds of property and forcing the evacuation of over 5,500 people.

We bring you the story of the eruption and subsequent destruction in our special image gallery:

19 September

The Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma, one of Spain's Canary Islands erupted on Sunday, on September 19, 2021. (Photo by AcfiPress/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, started to erupt on Sunday. Photo by AcfiPress/NurPhoto/Getty Images

20 September

LA PALMA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20: Volcano ash on the hood of a car in the area of Los Llanos, on September 20, 2021 in El Paso, La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The volcanic eruption began yesterday at 16:00 in the area of Cabeza de Vaca (La Palma). At least 15 homes were affected by the eruption early Monday and more than 5,000 people have been evacuated so far. Experts do not know when this eruption will end, which has left temperatures of 1,075 ° C in the rivers of lava from the volcano. (Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
Volcano ash on the hood of a car in the area of Los Llanos, in El Paso, La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press/Getty Images
EL PASO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20: People leave their homes as Mount Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary island of La Palma on September 20, 2021. - The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Spain's Canary Islands today spewing out lava, ash and a huge column of smoke after days of increased seismic activity, sparking evacuations of people living nearby, authorities said. Cumbre Vieja straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma island and has erupted twice in the 20th century, first in 1949 then again in 1971.âââââââ (Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Cumbre Vieja straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma island and erupted twice in the 20th Century, first in 1949 then again in 1971. Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

LA PALMA, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20: Aerial image of lava from the volcano on 20 September 2021, in La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The volcanic eruption began yesterday at 16:00 hours in the area of Cabeza de Vaca (La Palma), just when seismic activity on the island of La Palma had reached the maximum since the beginning of the swarm a week ago, it is currently with two fissures, separated about 200 meters, and eight mouths through which the lava emerges. At least 15 homes are affected by the eruption early Monday and more than 5,000 people have been evacuated so far. Experts do not know when this eruption will end, which has left temperatures of 1,075 ° C in the rivers of lava from the volcano. (Photo By Europa Press via Getty Images)
An aerial image of lava from the volcano in La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The volcanic eruption began on the 19th September at 16:00 hours in the area of Cabeza de Vaca. At least 15 homes were initially affected by the eruption by early Monday. Experts do not know when this eruption will end, which has resulted in rivers of lava with temperatures of 1,075°C sweeping down to surrounding villages. Photo By Europa Press/Getty Images

Mount Cumbre Vieja eruption in the Canary Islands, La Palma, on September 20, 2021. - The eruption is the first volcanic eruption in 50 years, forcing the evacuation of 5,500 people and destroying more than 100 houses. (Photo by AcfiPress/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Lava sweeps along the road on the island of La Palma. The eruption of Mount Cumbre Vieja is the first volcanic eruption by the volcano in 50 years, forcing the evacuation of over 5,500 people and destroying more than 100 houses. Photo by AcfiPress/NurPhoto/Getty Images

LA PALMA, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: An eruptive mouth expels lava and pyroclasts in the area of Los Llanos, on 20 September 2021, in El Paso, La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The volcanic eruption began yesterday at 16 hours in the area of Cabeza de Vaca (La Palma), just when seismic activity on the island of La Palma had reached the maximum since the beginning of the swarm a week ago, is currently with two fissures, separated about 200 meters, and eight mouths through which lava emerges. At least 15 homes are affected by the eruption early Monday and more than 5,000 people have been evacuated so far. Experts do not know when this eruption will end, which has left temperatures of 1,075 ° C in the rivers of lava from the volcano. (Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
An eruptive mouth expels lava and pyroclasts in the area of Los Llanos, in El Paso, La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press/Getty Images

EL PASO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20: Mount Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary island of La Palma on September 20, 2021. - The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Spain's Canary Islands today spewing out lava, ash and a huge column of smoke after days of increased seismic activity, sparking evacuations of people living nearby, authorities said. Cumbre Vieja straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma island and has erupted twice in the 20th century, first in 1949 then again in 1971. (Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A man takes a photograph of the volcanic eruption of Mount Cumbre Vieja as it continued to erupt in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava. Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

21 September

LA PALMA, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: The lava from the volcano reaches the urban core of Todoque, on 21 September, 2021 in Los Llanos de Ariadne, on La Palma, on 21 September, 2021 on La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The approach of lava to the town of Todoque is imminent and the residents must leave their homes with their belongings in the next few hours. The river of lava from the 'Cumbre Vieja' volcano continues to advance towards the sea, although in the last few hours its pace has slowed down. The lava has covered a total of 103 hectares and has destroyed 156 buildings, according to the European Union's Copernicus satellite program. In addition, 5,500 people from villages near the volcano have been evacuated. (Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
The lava from the volcano reaches the urban core of Todoque in Los Llanos de Aridane, on La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The approach of lava to the town of Todoque was brisk and residents had to be evacuated quickly. The river of lava from the ‘Cumbre Vieja’ volcano continued to advance towards the sea, although towards the end of the day its pace has slowed down. The lava had at that point covered a total of 103 hectares and has destroyed 156 buildings, according to the European Union’s Copernicus satellite program. Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images

LA PALMA, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: A man of the urban core of Todoque takes his bicycle out of the window during the eviction of their homes before the approach of lava from the volcano, on 21 September, 2021 in Los Llanos de Ariadne, in La Palma, on 21 September, 2021 in La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The approach of lava to the town of Todoque is imminent and the residents must leave their homes with their belongings in the next few hours. The river of lava from the 'Cumbre Vieja' volcano continues to advance towards the sea, although in the last few hours its pace has slowed down. The lava has covered a total of 103 hectares and has destroyed 156 buildings, according to the European Union's Copernicus satellite program. In addition, 5,500 people from villages near the volcano have been evacuated. (Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
A man of the urban core of Todoque takes his bicycle out of the window during the evacuation of homes, as lava from the Mount Cumbre Vieja volcano approaches, in Los Llanos de Ariadne. Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images

EL PASO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: Security force member guides people leaving their homes during an evacuation process as Mount Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava on the Canary island of La Palma on September 21, 2021. The volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma has destroyed around 100 homes, large swathes of agricultural land, roads and businesses, officials said on Monday. (Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A security force member guides people leaving their homes during an evacuation process as Mount Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava on the Canary island of La Palma. The volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma has destroyed more than 100 homes, large swathes of agricultural land, roads and businesses. Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Smoke rises from cooling lava after the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on the Canary Island of La Palma on September 21, 2021. - A new fissure has emerged in the erupting volcano on Spain's Canary Islands, belching out more lava and forcing another 500 people to flee as experts closely watched its progress towards the sea. (Photo by JOSE MARIA MONTESDEOCA / AFP) (Photo by JOSE MARIA MONTESDEOCA/AFP via Getty Images)
Smoke rises from cooling lava after the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on the Canary Island of La Palma. Photo by Jose Maria Montesdeoca/AFP/Getty Images

EL PASO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: Security force member guides people leaving their homes during an evacuation process as Mount Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava on the Canary island of La Palma on September 21, 2021. The volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma has destroyed around 100 homes, large swathes of agricultural land, roads and businesses, officials said on Monday. (Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A security force member guides people leaving their homes during an evacuation process as Mount Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava on the Canary island of La Palma. Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

EL PASO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: Flip flops covered in ash during an evacuation process as Mount Cumbre Vieja continues to erupt in El Paso, spewing out columns of smoke, ash and lava on the Canary island of La Palma on September 21, 2021. The volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma has destroyed around 100 homes, large swathes of agricultural land, roads and businesses, officials said on Monday. (Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Flip flops covered in ash are pictured as the evacuation of the areas surrounding the volcano continued. Photo by Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

LA PALMA, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20: Aerial image of lava from the volcano on 20 September 2021, in La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The volcanic eruption began yesterday at 16:00 hours in the area of Cabeza de Vaca (La Palma), just when seismic activity on the island of La Palma had reached the maximum since the beginning of the swarm a week ago, it is currently with two fissures, separated about 200 meters, and eight mouths through which the lava emerges. At least 15 homes are affected by the eruption early Monday and more than 5,000 people have been evacuated so far. Experts do not know when this eruption will end, which has left temperatures of 1,075 ° C in the rivers of lava from the volcano. (Photo By Europa Press via Getty Images)
Aerial image of lava as it approaches a swimming pool in La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Photo By Europa Press/Getty Images

LA PALMA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: The Cumbre Vieja volcano spews lava and ash in the area of Cabeza de Vaca on September 21, 2021 in in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. Lava continues to flow in the aftermath of the island's first volcanic eruption in 20 years, destroying hundreds of property and forcing the evacuation of over 5,000 people. (Photo by Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
The Cumbre Vieja volcano spews lava and ash in the area of Cabeza de Vaca during Tuesday evening. Photo by Kike Rincon/Europa Press/Getty Images

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LA PALMA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: The Cumbre Vieja volcano spews lava and ash in the area of Cabeza de Vaca on September 21, 2021 in in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. Lava continues to flow in the aftermath of the island's first volcanic eruption in 20 years, destroying hundreds of property and forcing the evacuation of over 5,000 people. (Photo by Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
Lava continues to flow in the aftermath of the island’s first volcanic eruption in 20 years, destroying hundreds of properties. Photo by Kike Rincon/Europa Press/Getty Images

LA PALMA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: People look on as the Cumbre Vieja volcano spews lava and ash in the area of Cabeza de Vaca on September 21, 2021 in in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. Lava continues to flow in the aftermath of the island's first volcanic eruption in 20 years, destroying hundreds of property and forcing the evacuation of over 5,000 people. (Photo by Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
People look on as the Cumbre Vieja volcano spews lava and ash in the area of Cabeza de Vaca in La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. Photo by Kike Rincon/Europa Press/Getty Images

22 September

A thick cloud of ash and gas from the volcano that went on erupting on September 19 in Cumbre Vieja mountain range, covers the Aridane valley as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary Island of La Palma, on September 22, 2021. - The vast wall of molten lava creeping down the slopes of Spain's La Palma island has destroyed 320 buildings and over 154 hectares of land, Europe's volcano observatory said today. The Cumbre Vieja volcano, which erupted on September 19, 2021, straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma, one of seven islands that make up the Canary Islands, Spain's Atlantic archipelago which lies off the coast of Morocco. (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN / AFP) (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images)
A thick cloud of ash and gas from the volcano covers the Aridane valley as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary Island of La Palma. Photo by Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images

TOPSHOT - The volcano that went on erupting on September 19 in Cumbre Vieja mountain range, spewes gas, ash and lava over the Aridane valley as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary Island of La Palma, on September 22, 2021. - The vast wall of molten lava creeping down the slopes of Spain's La Palma island has destroyed 320 buildings and over 154 hectares of land, Europe's volcano observatory said today. The Cumbre Vieja volcano, which erupted on September 19, 2021, straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma, one of seven islands that make up the Canary Islands, Spain's Atlantic archipelago which lies off the coast of Morocco. (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN / AFP) (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images)
By Wednesday, the vast wall of molten lava creeping down the slopes of Spain’s La Palma island had destroyed 320 buildings and over 154 hectares of land. La Palma is one of seven islands that make up the Canary Islands, in Spain’s Atlantic archipelago which lies off the coast of Morocco. Photo by Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images
LA PALMA, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 22: The cloud of ash and sulphur dioxide being expelled from the volcano of La Palma, seen from Tacande, in the municipality of El Paso, La Palma, on 22 September, 2021 in La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The first simulations made on the trajectory of the cloud of ash and sulfur dioxide expelled by the volcano could reach the Iberian Peninsula from Thursday and one of the first areas that would be affected would be the south of the Valencian Community. Likewise, the gas emissions expelled by the Cumbre Vieja volcano will also reach other nearby Canary Islands such as El Hierro, La Gomera and Tenerife. According to data from the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan), the nine vents of the La Palma volcano expel 10,665 tonnes of sulphur dioxide every day, which rises rapidly through the ash column and is suspended in the middle layers of the atmosphere depending on the direction of the wind. (Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press via Getty Images)
The cloud of ash and sulphur dioxide being expelled from the volcano of La Palma, seen from Tacande, in the municipality of El Paso, La Palma. The first simulations made on the trajectory of the cloud of ash and sulfur dioxide expelled by the volcano could reach the Iberian Peninsula from Thursday and one of the first areas that would be affected would be the south of the Valencian Community. Likewise, the gas emissions expelled by the Cumbre Vieja volcano will also reach other nearby Canary Islands such as El Hierro, La Gomera and Tenerife. According to data from the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan), the nine vents of the La Palma volcano expel 10,665 tonnes of sulphur dioxide every day, which rises rapidly through the ash column and is suspended in the middle layers of the atmosphere depending on the direction of the wind. Photo By Kike Rincon/Europa Press/Getty Images