Caribbean island orders evacuations after volcano warning

Ruben Fields
April 10, 2021

La Soufrière, which has been dormant for decades, first started showing volcanic activity in December which picked up this week. Vincent and the Grenadines, ordered an evacuation of the surrounding area late on Thursday. "Once the ash is in the atmosphere it eventually falls back down so areas as far south as Belmont at the observatory here. had some ashfall", he said.

The eruption column was estimated to have reached 10 kilometres high, the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre said, warning other explosive eruptions could occur. The islands of St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua said they would accept evacuees. "On the ground, ash can cause discomfort in persons suffering with respiratory illnesses and will impact water resources".

The eastern Caribbean is home to other active volcanoes.

"A number of Bermudian families have ties to St. Vincent & The Grenadines including that of Deputy Premier the Hon". An earlier eruption, in 1902, killed almost 1,700 people. The name means "sulfur outlet" in French.

She said that disaster managers are preparing sheltersand urged residents of communities north of Rabacca Dry River to be ready in the event that an evacuation order is given.

NEMO also said Royal Caribbean Group was sending a ship to help in the evacuation process; Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to a request for more information, but sources believe the Serenade of the Seas is on the way to St. Vincent.

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Robertson said that his recommendation to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) is that preparations be finalized within a few hours because scientists are unsure about the time scale of an explosive eruption.

"The place in general is in a frenzy", said Lavern King, 28, a shelter volunteer.

Authorities had indicated that depending on the extent of the explosion and the damage done, it could be for months.

Many anxious that evacuation efforts would be hampered by the pandemic, with Mr Gonsalves noting that the cruise ships and other islands would require evacuees to be vaccinated.

"People are very scared of the vaccine and they opt out of coming to a shelter because eventually they would have to adhere to the protocol", she said. Roughly 16,000 people live in the "red zone" near the volcano and required evacuation, according to Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies' Seismic Research Center.

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