- Title: I'm "delighted and happy" my house is still here - German resident of La Palma
- Date: 28th September 2021
- Summary: LA PALMA, SPAIN (SEPTEMBER 27, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF GERMAN RESIDENT OF LA PALMA, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, STANDING AT THE DOOR OF HIS HOME A FEW HOURS AFTER RETURNING AFTER BEING EVACUATED (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: "This estate here used to be a finca where farmers lived, an entire farmers' family with servants and so forth. There was a bodega which was turned into an apartment. There is a threshing floor and this house here (points to ground) was renovated in the Canaries style about 60 or 70 years ago, with wood and always respecting the Canaries' style. It's unique, you don't see houses like this very often. Yes, we moved here in 1991, my wife and I, with the VW van" (points and smiles). VARIOUS OF WAEGERLE SWEEPING ASH OUTSIDE HIS FRONT DOOR (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: "Here is a nice story: when the volcano started, we were still relatively safe here. But a week later, the Guardia Civil said to evacuate and that everything would be closed off and that everyone would have to leave immediately. They arrived in the middle of the night. They banged on the door (gestures) and made sure that I actually left. Then I got to the soccer ground in El Paso which was the meeting point for the evacuees and the Red Cross was very kind. There was food and drinks and so forth but nothing to sleep. For that they told us we needed to go the army barracks in Santa Cruz. So we drove there but there were no beds there either. So we had to go to a hotel." WAEGERLE WALKING AROUND INSIDE HIS HOUSE OPENING DOOR TO BATHROOM / SHOWING HIS TURTLES IN THE SHOWER VARIOUS OF WAEGERLE HANDLING ONE OF HIS TURTLE (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: "They were very decisive and allowed no opposition. We had to do what they said. But that's typical for the Guardia Civil police (smiles). That's my experience in 30 years. In any case, I then drove off with my VW van (points) and my turtles because I was able to collect those. But not my cats. And so I got to the meeting point, the parking lot and I spent the night in the van in front of the soccer stadium. The following day I drove to the army barracks, Los Carteles, then the same day to the hotel." SIGN ON WAEGERLE'S HOUSE READING "THE PRECIOUS PLACE" IN SPANISH AND WAEGERLE SWEEPING THE PATIO IN THE BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF WAEGERLE SWEEPING THE ASH ON HIS PATIO (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: "The police were right when they said people should leave because the first crater, the main crater erupted again and again but there wasn't even any ashes during the first two days. That probably wasn't so dangerous. But then a second crater opened up in my direction, aerial distance maybe 1,000 metres, with lava and fire and so on. Then I was convinced I had to leave. There was no alternative." VARIOUS OF WAEGERLE STANDING WITH BROOM (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: ""It was a great hotel, I already knew it. I had been there several times, at the time with my wife. It was full board and a TV Canarias even which is why I always knew what was going on. I always had the Canaries' TV station on, in Spanish." WAEGERLE LOOKING AT BOOK INSIDE HOUSE 14 VARIOUS OF WAEGERLE ON PHONE (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: "At the hotel I met a few fellow evacuees, even from here, the Caminos de Nuestra Via , the zone up here (points). They were in the same situation as me. They were happy of course that the Cabildo (regional government) was paying them for a vacation. But that was no vacation. In your thought (points to head) you're always at home, wondering whether your house hasn't burned down yet. We simply didn't know what was happening. Like I said, the hotel was great, very good service, very kind people." WAEGERLE WITH BACK TO CAMERA AND PLUME OF SMOKE OF VOLCANO AS IT ROARS WAEGERLE INSIDE HIS HOUSE LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW EXTERIORS OF HOUSE /LOUNGE CHAIR 19 . (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: "The cats I had to leave here because I couldn't put them into the VW van in the middle of the night. They were all over the place but the turtles, five big ones (shows size with fingers), I put into a box. That wasn't a problem. They could not have fled had there been a fire here. Turtles can't run very fast. They would have burned. In any case, they were in a box inside the VW van. In Santa Cruz at the hotel, they are not allowed so a nice lady from an animal protection shelter arrived and took them home with her. I went to pick them up at noon today (smiles)." WAEGERLE SWEEPING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: "Three hours ago I came back and was delighted and happy that my house was still there and that my cats, two of which were already here, were okay. I was happy, really happy." WAEGERLE ON PHONE INSIDE HOUSE / VOLCANO ERUPTION (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN RESIDENT, GERT WAEGERLE, 75, SAYING: "It's a good feeling, a fantastic feeling. I am super happy because in the end, everything turned out fine. The house is still there, I am doing well (gestures and pauses). Yes, I can't say more than that. Feelings? I'm sorry for other people whose houses have burned down to the ground, where the lava buried everything. And then of course there is the church tower, the symbol of Todoque, I saw it on Tele Canarias and how it collapsed. Terrible, really terrible. A lot of people cried." WAEGERLE SWEEPING ASH WAEGERLE BY HIS DOOR GARDEN COVERED IN ASH
- Embargoed: 12th October 2021 14:00
- Keywords: La Palma Spain eruption evacuees volcano
- Location: LA PALMA, SPAIN
- City: LA PALMA, SPAIN
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Europe,Earthquakes/Volcanoes/Tsunami
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWMX8P3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Gert Waegerle, a 75-year-old German resident of the Village of Tacanda de Arriba in La Palma, is one the lucky ones who has been able to return to his home after being evacuated as the lava stream from the Cumbre Vieja volcano engulfs hundreds of houses, banana plantations and other businesses.
"I came back and was delighted and happy that my house was still there and that my cats, two of which were already here, were okay. I was happy, really happy," he said on Monday (September 27) as he swept his ash-covered patio.
The 75-year-old German said he managed to take his five turtles with him but he was unable to find his cats at the time of evacuation.
Waegerle, moved to the former finca in 1991 with his wife, but as the lava of the volcano made its way down the mountains following the eruption on September 19, the German widower was abruptly asked to evacuate the premises by the Guardia Civil.
"When the volcano started, we were still relatively safe here," he said. "But a week later, the Guardia Civil (police ) said to evacuate...They arrived in the middle of the night. They banged on the door and made sure that I actually left."
Some 600 homes have been destroyed by the lava since the volcano erupted on September 19 and at least 6000 people in the island with a population of 83,000 have been evacuated.
Like Waegerle, the evacuees have been housed in sports centres, army barracks or hotels. In his case all three.
"In your thought you're always at home, wondering whether your house hasn't burned down yet. We simply didn't know what was happening," Waegerle said as he described the experience of being evacuated.
Spain's government classified the island of La Palma, which has been struck by a volcanic eruption, as a disaster zone on Tuesday, a move that will trigger emergency subsidies and other support measures.
The government announced a first package of 10.5 million euros ($12.30 million), which includes around 5 million euros to buy houses, with the rest to acquire furniture and essential household goods, government spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez told reporters on Tuesday.
Lava has been slowly flowing down the volcano's western flank toward the sea since the eruption.
Hundreds of people in coastal villages remain hunkered down in anticipation of lava emitted in previous days reaching the sea and releasing toxic gas.
"I'm sorry for other people whose houses have burned down to the ground, where the lava buried everything," Waegerle said.
"Terrible, really terrible. A lot of people cried," he added describing the iconic moment on live TV when the church in the village of Todoque came tumbling down as the lava took hold.
(Production: Guillermo Martinez, Jon Nazca, Michele Sani, Catherine Macdonald)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None