President's visit to La Palma after the end of the eruption

Sánchez reaffirms the Government's commitment to the reconstruction of La Palma: "We will not forget the people of La Palma and we will respond to all their demands and concerns"

President's News - 2021.12.27

Sánchez took part in the meeting of the Steering Committee of the Special Civil Protection and Emergency Response Plan for Volcanic Risk in the Canary Islands (PEVOLCA) and visited the Advanced Command Post, where he reaffirmed the commitment of the Government and all the administrations to the reconstruction of La Palma after the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano was deemed to be over.

"The commitment of the Government of Spain is firm and decisive: we are not going to forget the people of La Palma now the lava has stopped flowing", said the head of the Spanish government, who emphasised the objective of "giving a full response to all the demands and concerns that arise after the eruption of La Palma".

The head of the Executive also announced that a new meeting of the Joint Committee for the reconstruction, recovery and support of the island of La Palma would be held on 30 December, with the firm objective of "continuing to respond to the needs of the people of La Palma".

"We are facing the end of the eruption, but not the end of the emergency, so I would like to ask for maximum cooperation and patience in the face of some effects that may still be harmful to the health of the island's inhabitants," he stressed.

At the same time, Sánchez reiterated his intention to hold a face-to-face meeting of the Conference of Presidents on the island of La Palma at the beginning of February, which "will have a central element of debate on how we can continue to improve and strengthen our National Civil Protection System".

The head of the Executive has once again underlined the Government's recognition of science as a fundamental instrument to "provide an urgent response to the consequences of the volcano and avoid human losses in the first moments of the eruption".

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Fernando CalvoMore than 400 million euros in aid for La Palma

The head of the Executive has taken stock of the aid allocated to the recovery of the island of La Palma since the volcanic activity began more than three months ago. To date, more than 138 million euros in aid has been mobilised, which will reach more than 400 million euros when all committed funds are implemented.

In terms of homes and belongings, 73.77 million euros in compensation has been paid so far by the Insurance Compensation Consortium. To this is added 23.3 million euros approved by the Consortium.

At the same time, the Government has earmarked 10.5 million euros for this and the Canary Islands Government has acquired around a hundred homes. In addition, 40 prefabricated houses will be installed in the municipalities of El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane.

In turn, the Ministry of Home Affairs will allocate a further 36 million euros for housing, in addition to the increase in the aid provided for the total destruction of primary residences, which has risen from 30,249 euros to 60,480 euros per affected person.

The island's crops have also been severely affected by the eruption. In this regard, the Government has already paid out 13.5 million euros to banana producer organisations and has invested 4 million euros in the supply of more than 108,000 cubic metres of water for neighbours and farmers in the affected areas.

The more than 30 million euros in aid to farmers and livestock breeders must be added to these figures, as well as the 10 million euros that the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge has earmarked for hydraulic infrastructures.

In terms of employment, of note is the 63 million euros to be mobilised by the Extraordinary Employment Plan for La Palma, which will create more than 1,600 jobs. In addition, 1,365 workers on the island are already protected by the special ERTE regime for La Palma and 676 self-employed workers are already receiving the severance benefit.

At the same time, the Government approved a tax exemption on personal income tax and corporation tax on all aid received; and will pay, imminently, nearly 23 million euros for the island's Tourism and SME Plan. In addition, Spain has already formally requested that the European Commission activate the Solidarity Fund, for which the quantification of the damage caused by the eruption will be updated.

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Fernando CalvoOne year on from the first COVID-19 vaccine

Sánchez took advantage of his visit to La Palma to recall that just one year ago the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in Spain and, one year later, "almost nine out of every ten people over the age of 12 in our country have been fully vaccinated". "Almost 38 million people are sufficiently protected to face the most severe consequences of Covid," he said.

The president of the Government of Spain sees these figures as a true reflection of the "collective success of vaccination" in the face of the pandemic. "Our strategy will continue to be a success thanks to the booster dose and paediatric vaccination," said Sánchez.

In this sense, the head of the Executive has insisted on three fundamental issues to persevere in the strategy against the pandemic: vaccination, as "the best antidote to tackle the disease"; personal protection, focusing on the importance of masks; and institutional unity, to guarantee "the Government's support for the regional governments that want to implement measures against the pandemic within the scope of their competences".

Non official translation