The announcement came over three months after the eruption began as a major clean-up operation now awaits the island, which is left in ash covered ruins.

There were no casualties, but the eruptions caused major property damage in the island.
There were no casualties, but the eruptions caused major property damage in the island. (AFP Archive)

Scientists declared the eruption on Spain's La Palma officially over, allowing islanders to breathe a sigh of relief.

The announcement came on Saturday, nearly 100 days after the Cumbre Vieja volcano began to spew out lava, rock and ash and upended the lives of thousands.

"What I want to say today can be said with just four words: The eruption is over," Canary Islands regional security chief Julio Perez told a news conference on Saturday.

After bursting into action on September 19, the volcano suddenly went quiet on Monday December 13 but the authorities, wary of raising false hope, held off until Christmas Day to give the all-clear.

Maria Jose Blanco, director of the National Geographic Institute on the Canaries, said all indicators suggested the eruption had run out of energy but she did not rule out a future reactivation.

READ MORE: Lava from volcano on Spain's La Palma forces hundreds to evacuate

Not an end to troubling times

During the eruption, lava had poured down the mountainside, swallowing up houses, churches and many of the banana plantations that account for nearly half the island's economy. 

Some 3,000 properties were destroyed by lava that now covers 1,219 hectares - equivalent to roughly 1,500 soccer pitches - according to the final tally by the emergency services.

Of the 7,000 people evacuated, most have returned home but many houses that remain standing are uninhabitable due to ash damage.

With many roads blocked, some plantations are now only accessible by sea.

The volcanic roar that served as a constant reminder of the eruption has subsided, and islanders no longer have to carry umbrellas and goggles to protect against ash.

Nevertheless, a mammoth clean-up operation is only just getting underway.

The government has pledged more than $453 million (400 million euros) for reconstruction but some residents and businesses have complained that funds are slow to arrive.

READ MORE: Lava from Canary Island volcano reaches sea, raising toxic gas fears

Source: Reuters