The volcano at St Vincent, La Soufrière, has been erupting for weeks now. More and more people have fled from their homes located in the eastern part of the Caribbean islands. It has been erupting with heavy weights of ash. Several buildings have been damaged.
The people living nearby soon reported a power cut. While authorities restored electricity in various places, the condition is still not stable.
Volcano at St Vincent has been erupting for two weeks
The first eruption of the volcano happened Friday, April 9. Soon, people started evacuating their homes, while others sought shelter till Sunday, April 11.
Volcano rumbles could be heard in Kingstown, which was 32 kilometers south of the location.
One of the residents named Kalique Sutherland reported that they are hoping and waiting for the volcano to calm down. However, it has been two weeks, and the situation has not settled.
A leading scientist from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, Richard Robertson, had said that the eruption could continue for a while. He said that there are possibilities that the volcano calms down and allows people to recover. However, the situation did not stabilize till now.
On April 11, a 56-year-old farmer fled from his home. He reported that the current eruption is much worse than what they faced in 1979. He said that the situation is severe and needs to be addressed with care and caution. The man has experienced two major volcanic eruptions in his life.
People are fleeing from their homes
Around 20,000 people evacuated the ash-covered areas with as many belongings as they could carry. They filled their backpacks and suitcases, and many more continued as the situation worsened.
The Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, asked people to keep calm. He asked them to realize that they are battling the volcanic reactions and the coronavirus pandemic. Officials are trying to find the best ways to collect and dispose of ash that has covered airport runways close to Kingstown. The spread of ash has reached Barbados, covering 190 kilometers towards the east.
Early reports suggested that around 3200 people took refuge at 78 shelters provided by the government. Moreover, four cruises were ready to take evacuees to another island. A group of 130 was taken to St. Lucia by Monday, April 12. Many who stayed at the government shelters got infected with the coronavirus. They were taken to isolation centers. Currently, Grenada and Antigua are allowing evacuees to enter their country and take refuge.
What is current condition of St Vincent?
The island has not experienced such a destructive volcanic eruption in the past 42 years. The population of around 1,10,000 is currently in an apocalyptic situation.
Till now, no deaths have been reported. But there are around 100 million cubic meters of ash on the island. A high level of ash is also flowing into the sea and is getting carried away as far as India.
There has been extensive damage to homes, agricultural land, and tourism spots. To restore the place as it was before, the island needs funding of millions of dollars.
UN launched an appeal for funding $29.2 million to the island on Tuesday. Moreover, they had also sent $1 million as emergency funding on April 15. Currently, they are deploying teams with dozens of experts to assess the situation. The rescue teams will clean up and dispose of the ash. However, authorities need to evaluate the ecological impact to do so.