The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, made a new visit to the island of La Palma, to the area affected by the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, accompanied, among other authorities, by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, and the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Janusz Wojciechowski. On this day, the impact of the volcanic emergency in the primary sector of the Aridane Valley region has been analyzed, farms destroyed by lava flows and damaged by ash have been visited, mainly, and an exchange of impressions has been carried out with the agricultural and fishing representatives of the Isla Bonita.
After concluding the meeting with leaders of the insular agricultural and fishing sector, the president of the Canary Islands made an assessment before the media, at the Benahoarita Archaeological Museum of Los Llanos de Aridane, about the activity carried out today, in which they also participated the Regional Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Alicia Vanoostende; the president of the Island Council of La Palma, Mariano Hernández Zapata, and mayors of the municipalities most damaged by the action of the volcano, together with the Canarian MEPs, Fernando López Aguilar and Gabriel Mato, among other public officials.
Torres opted in his intervention for the recovery of farms and agricultural infrastructures (irrigation network, protection structures, accesses …) destroyed by the volcano and estimated the investment necessary to rebuild these spaces for agricultural use and, in fewer cases, livestock in more than 110 million euros. Before Minister Planas and the European Commissioner for Agriculture, he alluded to the fact that the head of the portfolio related to the agricultural sector in the European Commission, Janusz Wojciechowski, had been “shocked” by the destructive effects of the eruption in the field of Aridane Valley, especially in the dominant crop in the coastal area, the banana.
The head of the Canarian Executive was confident in the financial collaboration of the state and community administrations to achieve this objective and thus allow the people of the countryside in that destroyed area to recover their main economic activity as soon as possible. To achieve this end, the President of the Canary Islands referred to the autonomic decree law that will shortly be approved by the Governing Council with the basic purpose of acting in the planning and ordering of the spaces filled with lava and that this be done with the maximum legal guarantees.
Torres indicated that this future autonomous legal text has to be “by consensus” and already has the approval of the central government. Now it is waiting to receive the “agreement of other public administrations of La Palma”: the Cabildo and the three municipalities directly affected by the eruption, Los Llanos de Aridane, El Paso and Tazacorte. Once that inter-administrative consensus is reached, the new legal text will be submitted to the Governing Council and with its approval, the planning document that will guide the reconstruction of the island will be available.
President Torres also underlined the importance of starting this reconstruction process with the main objective that banana professionals in La Palma who have seen their farms lost or badly damaged, or other crops or livestock, can continue to have their future. economic activity linked to the performance of the same productive activities that were in operation before the volcano, in times prior to September 19 of last year, when the eruption began in Cumbre Vieja.
Torres stressed the need for the conditions to receive direct aid from Posei to be adapted within the European Union (EU) to the situation created by the eruption in La Palma with banana and other crops or agricultural activities, and It expressly referred to the fact that the condition of maintaining at least 70% of the annual production per beneficiary as a requirement to receive these community support is not fulfilled in the case of plantain, and that this is changed for as many years as possible , in order to facilitate the return to normality in this crop, key in the Isla Bonita. To achieve this end, Torres called for the maximum support of the European Commission, also of the Commissioner for Agriculture, present at today’s visit.
In relation to the community administration, the Canarian president requested that the funds for the economic recovery in the current situation of the covid be invested in the creation of the new population centers of the Aridane Valley, which will be “sustainable and resilient”, just in line with what is proposed as an objective investment charged to that financial statement.
In addition, Torres showed the interest of the Canary Islands and La Palma in which the EU can advance, as far in advance as possible, the at least 30 million euros that must be received from its Solidarity Fund. This contribution can be invested in replacing public infrastructure, such as roads, schools, health clinics …
Also on the reconstruction process in the Aridane region, which began in its “definitive phase after the official confirmation of the end of the eruption on December 25,” the president of the regional government announced that the new route between Las Manchas and Puerto Naos “will open next Monday.” This public investment, of almost 2 million euros, was launched with the volcano expelling lava, ash and gases.
The distribution of aid to those affected and the realization of urgent investments
On this issue, the President of the Canary Islands once again stressed that the management of aid, subsidies and public investments linked to the consequences produced by the eruption have been channeled quickly, especially if the delivery and execution times of now they are compared with those achieved in emergency situations of similar magnitude in previous periods.
Torres announced that the public resources already distributed or invested on the island of La Palma to help the most vulnerable people, all those affected by the volcano and to proceed with the reconstruction of the large damaged area in the Aridane Valley reached 180 millions of euros.
In addition, as of last January 10, the Single Registry that is managed by the Office of the Affected One has received 4,312 requests from people or entities affected by the volcano, of whose volume 97% of the registered files had been initiated. With the same time reference, the signed files, already resolved in this registration phase, had reached the threshold of 2,776; that is, 66% of all those presented.
According to the areas of action in the support and public investments, the head of the regional Executive referred to the 82 million euros already disbursed in emergency accommodation for affected people and with their homes destroyed, in the purchase of flats and houses (including modular or prefabricated) or by the indemnities approved by the Insurance Compensation Consortium and by the State due to the loss of the first home, among other headings.
To these 82 million euros, add the 55.4 million in social and emergency aid already granted, these destined for the most vulnerable families, and the 30.24 million defined to compensate for losses in economic activity and to recover the productive activity affected by the eruption, especially in the three municipalities of the Aridane Valley.
Finally, it is worth highlighting the 11.5 million euros to support the recovery of damaged infrastructure, for the availability of irrigation water and for the start-up of the Office for the Affected in Casa Massieu, together with the promotion of the citizen participation between public administrations and those affected by the Cumbre Vieja volcano (natural and legal persons).