News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. April 15, 2021: The humanitarian and economic crisis unleashed by the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent will last months and will extend to nearby islands, a UN official says.
“It is a crisis that will require a humanitarian response but also a response in terms of rehabilitation” which could last for several months, said Didier Trebucq, the United Nations coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
Trebucq said that it was hard to know how long the crisis will last. “Everything will depend on the duration of the volcanic eruptions,” he said. “It is possible that it will last a few weeks, it is also possible that it lasts several months.” Ash has already impacted Barbados, leading to the closure of its airport and a massive clean-up effort there; as well as impacted St. Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago. The French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe may also be impacted “depending on the direction of the winds and where the volcanic ash is deposited,” Trebucq said. In calling for more robust international aid Trebucq noted that hurricane season in the Caribbean is set to begin in two months, and that tourism, the main source of income for the islands, has been severely curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday a French navy ship, Le Ventose, reached Saint Vincent with water and 75 tonnes of humanitarian aid.
HERE’S THE LATEST ON THE VOLCANO FROM THE UWI SEISMIC RESEARCH CENTER
1. Seismic activity at La Soufrière continued to follow the established pattern with bands of tremor about between 13 and 15 hours apart separated by swarms of small, long-periods.
2. The latest band of tremor started at about 2:30 am and was associated with increased venting.
3. The volcano continues to erupt explosively and has now begun to generate pyroclastic density currents – hot (200°C-700°C), ground-hugging flows of ash and debris.
4. Its current pattern of explosions appears to be episodic (stop-start) with increasing periods between eruptions and less energy.
5. Explosions and accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger magnitude, are likely to continue to occur over the next few days impacting St. Vincent and neighboring islands.
6. The volcano is at alert level Red.