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The world in brief: Lava-river shift sends islanders fleeing

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports | October 14, 2021 at 3:42 a.m.
Lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano ignites a house Wednesday on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain. (AP/Daniel Roca)

Lava-river shift sends islanders fleeing

LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Canary Islands -- Hundreds of people in Spain's Canary Islands feared for their homes and property Wednesday as a new river of lava from an erupting volcano threatened another neighborhood on the island of La Palma.

Island authorities ordered the evacuation of around 800 people from the coastal town of Los Llanos de Aridane on Tuesday after the lava took a new course on its way to the Atlantic Ocean and put their homes in a probable path of destruction. It was the first mass exit since around 6,000 people were told to leave immediately after the Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Sept. 19.

Volcanologists found that a new lava flow north of the main river of molten rock had branched off and was heading toward an inhabited area outside the previous evacuation zone.

Residents of the La Laguna neighborhood had only a few hours to gather up their most precious belongings and leave. Volunteers helped school employees salvage educational materials, while others loaded up cars and trucks with furniture.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez traveled to the island Wednesday, his fourth visit since the initial eruption. Sanchez's government has pledged $247 million to help rebuild homes, farms and businesses in the affected area.

"Unfortunately, the news we have from the scientific committee is that the volcano's activity is not decreasing, so a reduction in its activity is not foreseeable in the coming days," Sanchez said. "I know it is tough after so many days and nights of suffering, but I ask you to remain patient, because we cannot do anything until the volcano stops."

5 people die in bow-and-arrows attack

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- A man armed with a bow and arrows killed five people Wednesday near the Norwegian capital of Oslo before he was arrested, authorities said.

The police chief in the town of Kongsberg said there was "a confrontation" between officers and the assailant, but he did not elaborate. Two other people were wounded and hospitalized in intensive care, including an officer who was off duty and inside the shop where the attack took place, police said.

"The man who carried out the act has been arrested by the police, and there is no active search for more people. Based on the information we have, there is one person behind this," Police Chief Oeying Aas said.

Police were alerted to the attack around 6:30 p.m. and arrested the suspect about 20 minutes later. The community is 41 miles southwest of Oslo. According to police, the suspect walked around the city shooting at people with arrows. Several people were wounded in shops, Aas said.

Israel-held Palestinians on hunger strike

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- At least 250 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel have begun a hunger strike to protest their relocation to isolated cells, officials said Wednesday.

The hunger strike, led by the militant Islamic Jihad group, comes amid heightened tensions in Israeli detention facilities after the escape of six prisoners from a high-security prison last month. All six were recaptured within a couple of weeks, but the escape embarrassed Israeli authorities and was hailed as a stroke of defiance by Palestinians.

Israel is currently holding more than 4,600 Palestinians in connection with the Mideast conflict. The prisoners range from senior militants convicted of deadly attacks against Israelis to political activists who took part in demonstrations and teenagers detained for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club, which represents former and current prisoners, said the latest strike is to protest the separation of Islamic Jihad prisoners into designated cells, isolating them from most other members of the group.

Ebola death revives Congo vaccinations

LONDON -- The World Health Organization said Wednesday that officials have begun vaccinating people in eastern Congo against Ebola, after it was confirmed last week that the disease killed a toddler.

The U.N. health agency said in a statement that people at high risk of catching the disease, including the young boy's family members and health workers, would receive first doses of the vaccine made by Merck.

WHO said about 1,000 doses of the vaccine arrived in Goma, the capital of Congo's North Kivu province, and 200 doses were sent to Beni, a city near the area where the first case was identified last week.

The new Ebola outbreak that started Oct. 8 comes after an epidemic that began in 2018, when the disease killed more than 2, 200 people in the conflict-ridden region -- and when more than 80 Ebola responders working under WHO were found to have sexually abused people during the agency's efforts to stop the disease.

Among the 15 officials WHO dispatched to Congo this month was an expert in preventing sexual abuse and exploitation, the agency said.

Lava from a volcano flows destroying a banana plantation on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. A new river of lava has belched out from the La Palma volcano, spreading more destruction on the Atlantic Ocean island where molten rock streams have already engulfed over 1,000 buildings. The partial collapse of the volcanic cone has sent a new lava stream heading toward the western shore of the island. (AP Photo/Daniel Roca)
Lava from a volcano flows destroying a banana plantation on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. A new river of lava has belched out from the La Palma volcano, spreading more destruction on the Atlantic Ocean island where molten rock streams have already engulfed over 1,000 buildings. The partial collapse of the volcanic cone has sent a new lava stream heading toward the western shore of the island. (AP Photo/Daniel Roca)
Lava flows destroying a banana plantation on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. A new river of lava has belched out from the La Palma volcano, spreading more destruction on the Atlantic Ocean island where molten rock streams have already engulfed over 1,000 buildings. The partial collapse of the volcanic cone has sent a new lava stream heading toward the western shore of the island. (AP Photo/Daniel Roca)
Lava flows destroying a banana plantation on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. A new river of lava has belched out from the La Palma volcano, spreading more destruction on the Atlantic Ocean island where molten rock streams have already engulfed over 1,000 buildings. The partial collapse of the volcanic cone has sent a new lava stream heading toward the western shore of the island. (AP Photo/Daniel Roca)
A house is burnt by the lava on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. A new river of lava has belched out from the La Palma volcano, spreading more destruction on the Atlantic Ocean island where molten rock streams have already engulfed over 1,000 buildings. The partial collapse of the volcanic cone has sent a new lava stream heading toward the western shore of the island. (AP Photo/Daniel Roca)
A house is burnt by the lava on the Canary island of La Palma, Spain, on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. A new river of lava has belched out from the La Palma volcano, spreading more destruction on the Atlantic Ocean island where molten rock streams have already engulfed over 1,000 buildings. The partial collapse of the volcanic cone has sent a new lava stream heading toward the western shore of the island. (AP Photo/Daniel Roca)

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