CARIBBEAN. St. Vincent: On 11 April, Saint Vincent’s largest volcano, La Soufriere, exploded for a second time, leaving the Caribbean’s largest island nation covered in ash apart from dealing with massive power outages and water shortage.
What started as subtle rumblings, akin to a snorting giant built into a volcanic eruption last week. After the fatal predictions, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves ordered the evacuation of around 16,000 residents of ‘red zones’ – where La Sourfriere’s volcano eruptions were to have a massive impact.
On 9 April, the first explosive volcano eruption was underway. It shot a column of ash 10 kilometers (kms) into the sky with thunder and lightning crackling through the blackened skies. According to local authorities, the evacuation was hindered due to poor visibility.
These explosions are likely to continue for the next few days and the impact may also disrupt the neighboring islands.
The Prime Minister of the 32 islands that make up the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has requested people to remain calm and keep trying to protect themselves from the coronavirus amid the rising cases.
He said that the officials were figuring out the best way to dispose of the volcano’s ash covering the airport runway near Kingstown, which fell as far away as Barbados, about 90 kilometers to the east.
Local authorities said that around 3,200 people took refuge at 78 government-run shelters due to the volcano’s eruption. Four empty cruise ships stood ready to take other evacuees to nearby islands, a group of more than 130 were already taken to St. Lucia. Those at the shelters were tested for COVID-19, and people testing positive are being taken to isolation wards.
Neighboring nations, including Antigua and Grenada, also offered to take in evacuees.
La Soufriere had last spewed lava in 1979, after which it remained dormant until recently in December 2020, when it woke up again.