To vent their frustrations, residents of Gran Canaria are organizing noisy protests on beaches and boardwalks. And to express their gratitude, the island’s Spanish-speaking compatriots are turning to Spanish food.
Hurricane-related and associated volcanic activity is already disrupting life on the island by closing airports and schools. It has also forced officials to close radio frequencies.
“There was an issue with the public broadcaster, one where they asked people who speak Spanish on the public station to take their Spanish – obviously we don’t – off the air,” resident Liliana Said told Agence France-Presse. “So we’re using Spanish and our own food to complain about it.”
Gran Canaria residents have had to organize picnics, charity jamborees and a barbecue festival to protest the island’s travel restrictions – because of volcano https://t.co/zmeopJGxr4 pic.twitter.com/8raHm8PMGo — AFP news agency (@AFP) August 12, 2018
Residents are so fed up with the airport closures that they have held street parties and organised beach bonfires to show their frustration.
“It seems like life is over,” Elvira Oliveri, who has lived on the island for about 15 years, told AFP. “There is no sense of wonder. A way of life has disappeared.”
While Gran Canaria is home to more than 10 million tourists a year, it also has 800,000 residents. The island is located about a 1.2-hour plane ride from Ibiza and Mallorca in Spain and a 1.6-hour flight from Gran Canaria in Morocco.
Climate change is also adding to the stress. “In Gran Canaria it is the current civil emergency and therefore the fallout from a climate change situation,” Alvaro Moreno, an academic at Gran Canaria University of Science and Technology, told AFP. “In warmer and dryer situations like that Gran Canaria, which is highly dependent on rain, is difficult to live in.”
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