Most north Tenerife beaches in as much danger of rockfalls and landslides as Los Gigantes

In the wake of the Los Gigantes landslide tragedy (post 1.11.09), the mayors of the northern Tenerife municipalities have admitted that it is difficult to control rockfalls in any of their areas apart from that of Puerto de la Cruz, which is not backed by sheer cliffs. The problem is so acute, indeed, that in some cases there is not just a lack of security, but the beaches are positively considered dangerous, mainly due to the north Tenerife landscape which is much steeper than the gradual slopes of south Tenerife, and of course, with the sheer cliff backdrops that cause the principal danger.

One of the beaches most used by Tinerfenians is El Socorro, which is a perfect example of the type of danger that exists. It is flanked by cliffs, and the mayor of Los Realejos, Oswaldo Amaro, acknowledges that there is a constant danger of rockfalls, but insists that his Ayuntamiento has taken all necessary security measures to avoid accidents, as well as sectioning off dangerous areas and putting adequate warning notices in place.

None of this is any use, Sr Amaro continued, if beach users ignore whatever security measures are activated for their own safety. Moreover, he voiced a grievance echoed by other mayors over the powers of the Department of Costas, which creates difficulties , Sr Amaro said, for the municipalities when they try to carry out improvements. The ecological movements too, he continued, criticize anything that is done to interfere with the natural state, however dangerous that might be.

Other beaches lack even basic security measures to protect users against rockfalls, and the authorities evidently feel they can do no more than ask bathers to be careful. Whether this is enough for a tourism aiming to be world class is debatable, but it is clear that at least some responsibility lies with individual users themselves. Despite a clear and known ban on camping, for example, many set up camp during holiday times right at the foot of the cliffs, sometimes using for shelter the huge rocks that have recently rained down on that very area.

Where does the blame lie when such areas are not closed off to the public, and have either few or no notices about danger or camping bans, but where, on the other hand, a simple glance shows that it is clearly dangerous and the law is widely known even without signs.  La Opinion

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