Written by By Sarah Perez, CNN La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
It’s been busy. And none of it is good.
An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale shook parts of La Palma on Wednesday, just three days after authorities observed an earthquake of almost exactly the same magnitude — albeit, it was less intense and felt more widely. And it’s not just La Palma. The powerful 6.4 earthquake that struck São Miguel in the Caribbean last week left a far more devastating impact, according to Wainio Jimenez-Danieta, founder of the NGO and network, Allumyes (Allumanyes, in the local language, means “allahu”), and it also triggered an eruption on La Palma’s neighbor, Lanzarote.
Thousands of inhabitants were evacuated, and hotel owner Alvaro Perez says many top notch hotels and resorts on Lanzarote were in danger of losing their owners.
The island hosts some of the most expensive hotels in the Mediterranean, he adds, due to a strong European market: “If it was the Americas or India, all would be lost. It’s a shame, of course, for them, but also for us.”
La Palma’s volcanic Mount Eneas is pictured along the west-facing coast of the island. CNN
In all, eight islands in the southern Canary Islands — sharing the large island of La Palma — have been affected by a state of emergency that began Sunday. The UCLGS said the earthquake Tuesday measured 6.2 on the Richter scale.
The Canary Islands and its 4.3 million inhabitants, largely due to La Palma, are popular among tourists and are home to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and a coastal tourism industry that has attracted large volumes of foreign visitors.
The La Palma Regional Council (CSR) says there have been no immediate reports of damages or injuries, and the island has been relatively calm today (though La Palma is technically due to reach a state of emergency Thursday).
Coastal hotel owner Alvaro Perez says many of his clients lost their properties and expect him to rebuild.
Many hotels will be offering discounts to residents and visitors who are eager to return to La Palma to clear up their belongings and find out about the status of their community, he says.
“The main thing, in the short term, is to be united, if that’s possible, to show our neighbors their neighbors care.”