Volcano erupts in southern Caribbean, sparking evacuation 'frenzy'

Henry ROSE HALL, St Vincent and the Grenadines, April 9 (Reuters) - L a Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted on Friday after decades of inactivity, sending dark plumes of ash and smoke billowing into the sky and forcing thousands from surrounding villages to evacuate.

Reuters | Updated: 10-04-2021 00:52 IST | Created: 10-04-2021 00:49 IST
Volcano erupts in southern Caribbean, sparking evacuation 'frenzy'
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

(Adds quote, latest ash update) By Robertson S. Henry

ROSE HALL, St Vincent and the Grenadines, April 9 (Reuters) - L a Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted on Friday after decades of inactivity, sending dark plumes of ash and smoke billowing into the sky and forcing thousands from surrounding villages to evacuate. Dormant since 1979, the volcano started showing signs of activity in December, spewing steam and smoke and rumbling away. That picked up this week, prompting Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves to order an evacuation of the surrounding area late on Thursday.

Early on Friday it finally erupted. Ash and smoke plunged the neighboring area into near total darkness, blotting out the bright morning sun, said a Reuters witness, who reported hearing the explosion from Rose Hall, a nearby village. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which has a population of just over 100,000, has not experienced volcanic activity since 1979. An eruption by La Soufriere in 1902 killed more than 1,000 people. The name means "sulfur outlet" in French.

The eruption column was estimated to reach 10 km (6.2 miles) high, the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre said, warning other explosive eruptions could occur. Ash fall could affect the Grenadines, Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada. "The ash plume may cause flight delays due to diversions," the centre said on Twitter. "On the ground, ash can cause discomfort in persons suffering with respiratory illnesses and will impact water resources."

Some 4,500 residents near the volcano had evacuated already via ships and by road, Gonsalves said in a news conference on Friday. Heavy ash fall had halted the evacuation efforts somewhat due to poor visibility, according to St. Vincent's National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO). "The place in general is in a frenzy," said Lavern King, 28, a shelter volunteer. "People are still being evacuated from the red zone, it started yesterday evening and into last night."

Gonsalves said that depending on the extent of the damage, it could be four months before evacuees could return home. Welling up with tears, he said neighboring islands such as Dominica, Grenada and Antigua had agreed to take evacuees in and cruise lines could ferry them over - as long as they got vaccinated first.

That though could prove a challenge, said opposition senator Shevern John, 42. "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. Shelters are also having to limit the number of evacuees they take due to COVID-19 protocols.

Vincentians would have to wait for further scientific analysis to know what steps to take next, she said. "It can go for a few days or a few weeks," she said. "At the moment, both ends of the island are covered in ash and very dark."

Local media have in recent days also reported increased activity from Mount Pelee on the island of Martinique, which lies to the north of St. Vincent beyond St. Lucia.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Blockchain in Healthcare: Opportunities and challenges

The use of blockchain in healthcare is a relatively new innovation with many of its uses still being explored and related technologies being developed, improved, and scaled. ...

Debate surrounding vaccine passports and development misses bigger picture

... ...

Blockchain vs IOTA: Looking for a better alternative

... ...

For stability, Iraq needs to crack down on corruption

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Sarma set to become Assam CM, ancestral village rejoices

Excitement gripped Latima village in Assams Nalbari district on Sunday after it became clear that BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma is going to be the next chief minister of the state.Latima is Sarmas ancestral village where he spent his child...

Siberian doctor who treated Kremlin critic Navalny goes missing, police say

A Siberian doctor who treated Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny after he collapsed on a flight in Russia last year has gone missing, Russian police said on Sunday. Police in the Omsk region, about 2,200 km 1,370 miles east of Moscow, said physi...

Puducherry CM Rangasamy tests positive for COVID; to be treated in Chennai

Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy on Sunday tested positive for coronavirus.A spokesman of the Health Department here told P T I that Rangasamy underwent an examination at the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College Hospital here Sunda...

J&K Tribal Affairs Department to sponsor students for skill training

The Jammu and Kashmir Tribal Affairs Department has initiated a process to sponsor 250 students for skill development training.Tribal Affairs Department Secretary Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said on Sunday, The skill development training landsca...

Give Feedback