Published: Fri, April 09, 2021

Guyana on standby to provide volcano relief to St Vincent

Guyana on standby to provide volcano relief to St Vincent

[Updated] The Premier has extended his thoughts and prayers to the people of St. Vincent & The Grenadines as they face the possible eruption of the volcano La Soufriere.

More than 16,000 residents were evacuated as volcanic activity on La Soufrière increased on Thursday, with the volcano emitting plumes of ash.

KINGSTON, Jamaica- Northern communities in St Vincent and the Grenadines are said to be making final arrangements for evacuation as activity on the active volcano La Soufriere increases.

In November 2020, renewed activity was noted at the crater, with a seismic event being recorded in December of that year, perhaps as a result of the formation of a new dome inside the volcano.

Richard Robertson, lead geologist at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center on the island, told reporters earlier on Thursday the scientists expected "explosions at the volcano" within the next 24 to 48 hours.

However, Robertson said no one can say exactly when that would happen. Earthquakes earlier this week originating from the volcano also pointed to heightened tectonic activity.

In a media release this afternoon, line Minister Stuart Young said that based on instructions he received from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who spoke to Prime Minister Gonsalves, National Security has been preparing itself to assist.

He also said that he was talking to Caribbean governments to accept people's ID cards if they don't have a passport.

Gonsalves said he has already been in contact with the prime ministers of Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda about the repatriation of an estimated 20,000 nationals of those country, who are living and working in St Vincent, should the need arise.

The announcement was made during an emergency press conference a short while ago, at which the Vincentian leader said he was acting on the advice of the country's disaster officials.

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. Most notably, the eruption of 1902 killed many Indigenous Black Caribs, who had been banished by the British colonial government to live at Sandy Bay in the shadow of the volcano.

Health authorities were also urging people to get vaccinated against the covid19 virus, given that the island has community spread and the stringent entry measures being adopted by neighbouring Caribbean islands.

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