Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Action plan in the event of a volcanic crisis in Tenerife: risk areas and massive shelters

Peak of Teide and lava flows in the Teide National Park

Plans include mass evacuations, shelter provision and educational programmes to help prepare should any eruption occur and, are part of ongoing public protection plans. However, authorities are keen to stress there's no risk at present from Mount Teide, which last erupted 112 years ago in November 1909.

The president of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Pedro Martín, last Friday presented the Plan de Actuación Insular frente al Riesgo Volcánico de la isla de Tenerife (Island Action Plan against Volcanic Risk of Tenerife) (PAIV), a document promoted by the Technical Service of Security and Civil Protection, of the area of ​​Natural Environment and Security and developed by the Chair of Disaster Risk Reduction at the University of La Laguna (ULL).

"The island of Tenerife, everyone knows, has a volcanic nature, we live on a volcanic edifice of great magnitude, and that is why this document is a fundamental tool to be able to give an adequate response to emergencies related to volcanic activity," said the president.

In addition, he added that "this plan complies with the provisions of the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Attention to Emergencies due to volcanic risk in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, whose purpose is to guarantee a coordinated response from all public administrations to face possible eruptions and emergencies derived from them".

The island councillor for the Environment, Isabel García, pointed out that "the low social perception of volcanic risk makes it very necessary to reinforce the attention to these phenomena in society."

That is why, she continued, "that the PAIV attends to the education and informing to the population of the true importance of coexistence with volcanoes, 112 years without eruptions can be a very short time from the geological point of view, but in society seems quite a lot, so the perception of this risk has been diluted over time."

The insular director of Security, Rubén Fernández, commented that "the drafting team of this plan has worked for two years and an implementation project is already underway that involves working very closely with the island's municipalities, especially those located in its north western arc".

In the presentation, the Cabildo Civil Protection technician José Agustín Reñasco was in charge of explaining all the technical details of the document.

For his part, Nemesio Pérez, Involcán coordinator, recalled that the emergency plans are based on three pillars, "strengthening the communication of the alert, launching an educational program on volcanic hazards, and the third has to be a put into practice: rehearse through drills".


Thus, this plan develops the organizational and functional structure on the island, zoning the territory according to its possible volcanic risk, establishing the appropriate criteria and procedures for the evacuation and shelter of the population and for the restoration of the essential services affected, as well as such as information procedures for the population and methods of dissemination.

In addition, it zones the territory based on volcanic risk and establishes different degrees in areas such as Santiago del Teide-El Tanque, Valle de Icod-Garachico, Santiago del Teide-Guía de Isora, and the Stratovolcano Teide-Pico Viejo and Icod-La Guancha.

The shelters for the population will be: the Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos de Tenerife (International Center for Fairs and Congresses of Santa Cruz de Tenerife), the Pabellón Insular Santiago Martín (Santiago Martín Island Sports Pavilion), the Auditorio de Tenerife (Adán Martín Auditorium of Tenerife), the Complejo Deportivo de Tenerife (Tenerife Sports Complex: Santa Cruz-Ofra), the Palacio de Congresos Pirámide de Arona (Pirámide de Arona Conference Center), the Centro de Eventos Magma Adeje (Magma Adeje Events Center) or the Centro de Congresos del Puerto de la Cruz (Puerto de la Cruz Congress Center).