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Caribbean countries’ reaction to volcanic eruption in St. Vincent brings tears to Prime Minister Gonsalvez eyes

The people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines can rest assured that many people in the world are doing more than watching the events surrounding the eruption of the La Soufrière Volcano. The world is watching including the Caribbean community which several leaders have swiftly reacted to the unfortunate disaster happening on St. Vincent located in the eastern Caribbean.

Several Caribbean islands have already committed to allow Vincentians to evacuate to their country. The outpour of support has touched the Vincentian Prime Minister, Richard Gonsalvez’s heart.

“The way in which people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and in ordinary people, and in Grenada, and in Dominica, St. Lucia, and Antigua have responded to put people in their homes…strangers…bring tears to my eyes. I love this Caribbean,” said Gonsalvez in a press conference today.

The La Soufrière volcano erupted twice on Friday at 8:40 a.m. this morning and at 2:45 p.m. in the afternoon. “The first eruption shot a plume of ash more than 6 miles into the sky with heavy ashfall coating the country for miles reaching the Argyle International Airport, on the opposite end of the island,” the country’s National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) reported.

The West Indies Seismic Research Center (WISRC) reported that the second eruption which rocked La Soufrière volcano has ongoing pulses. According to geologists, more explosive eruptions are possible and the volcanic activity could continue for weeks.

Death or severe injury is certain if caught up in a deadly volcanic hazard.

“Pyroclastic flows are one of the most deadly of volcanic hazards,” WISRC released in a video, adding that, “they are rapidly moving avalanches of hot rocks, dust and gas that flow down the sides of a volcano and into surrounding valleys.”

“They can climb up and over ridges of high ground. They are dangerous because they can flow much faster than a person can run, and often faster than a car. So, for those in their path, there’s little chance of escape”.

The explosions occurred less than a day after volcanologists warned of the disaster. A mandatory evacuation is in effect for some 20,000 citizens from the Northern Communities or Red Zone. However, NEMO reported that low visibility due to ash fall is hampering evacuation efforts.

Volcanic Hazard Map for La Soufriere Volcano

As of this afternoon, there were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths. The volcano last erupted in 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed about 1,600 people.

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