SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Nov 18 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Government of the Canary Islands this Thursday made a first estimate of the damage caused by the volcanic eruption of Cumbre Vieja in La Palma and the figure in an amount that ranges between 550 and 700 million euros.
This was stated at a press conference by the President of the Executive, Ángel Víctor Torres, after intervening telematically in the Annual Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions of the European Union and wrestling with them the commitment that La Palma has the “maximum possible” of resources from the EU solidarity fund.
Torres has valued the “unanimous support” of the ORs and has commented that the Canary Islands meet the criteria to qualify for these funds – the limit of catastrophic damages is set at 430 million -, which must be requested before they comply the 12 weeks since the eruption began so there is still a “time window”.
He pointed out that the possibility of even advancing resources from the 2022 fund falls and pointed out that the quantification of damages is “essential”, with the difficulty that the eruption has not yet finished. “We are in the middle of the catastrophe,” he stressed.
Regarding the rest of his speech before the Conference of Presidents of the ORs, he commented that it has been agreed that the strategy of these territories “adapts” to the economic and social moment, giving as an example that the growth of irregular immigration and the arrival of of unaccompanied minors “requires a response” from the EU.
In addition, he commented that the ORs, which mainly live off the primary sector and tourism, suffer from the “economic fragility” derived from the health pandemic, which is coupled with the impact of being fragmented territories.
For this reason, they have asked the EU to have “more flexibility” to be able to execute Community funds, both ordinary and those of the Next Generation program.
Torres has also asked for support for the Canary Islands to be the headquarters of the European Tourism Agency, something that “will not be easy”, although it would be the first time that an OR has hosted an organization of these characteristics.
Likewise, the regions have agreed to create a body to promote culture and creative arts.
SOIL RECALIFICATION IN LA PALMA
The President of the Canary Islands has commented that the Government continues to work on the elaboration of the decree law for the requalification of land in La Palma in order to start the reconstruction, and suggested that it is possible to carry out an emergency first and then others as a complement.
He pointed out that the Minister of Ecological Transition, José Antonio Valbuena, directs the work in collaboration with the Cabildo de La Palma, the central government and the affected municipalities, although he has made it clear that “a town is not going to rise overnight. in the morning”.
For this reason, it has once again defended the Executive’s housing strategy, which involves hotel accommodation in a first phase, a second where temporary rental housing is awarded for three years and the final one, when reconstruction begins wherever possible. .