Saba prepared to assist those in need in St. Vincent

On Friday morning, Public Entity Saba received information on the volcanic eruption on St. Vincent. Immediately, Island Governor Jonathan Johnson contacted a representative of the Saban Vincentian community, offering assistance within the Public Entity’s capacity.

A view from the Belmont Observatory in Saint Vincent as the eruption at La Soufriere continue, on April 11, 2021.UWI Seismic Research Centre / AFP – Getty Images

This morning, Monday, April 12th, the Executive Council had a meeting with persons of Vincentian descent living on the island regarding what further assistance Saba could provide.

The Island government offered to organize a charter flight for some Vincentians who have been displaced due to the crisis to come to Saba for reprieve.

As for other assistance, the Public Entity Saba is also in contact with other relief organizations that are already assisting within the region and on the ground in St. Vincent to ensure that the help from Saba gets to those most impacted by the volcano.

Details of how Sabans that would like to assist can do so will be forthcoming.

GIS Saba

NBC reported today on the eruption:

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — La Soufriere volcano fired an enormous amount of ash and hot gas early Monday in the biggest explosive eruption yet since volcanic activity began on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent late last week, with officials worried about the lives of those who have refused to evacuate. Experts called it a “huge explosion” that generated pyroclastic flows down the volcano’s south and southwest flanks.

The National Emergency Management Organisation, or NEMO St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said on Facebook that the Monday blast took place around 4:15 a.m. and was visible on radar from the nearby island of Martinique. “It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center, told The Associated Press. “Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately.”

There were no immediate reports of injuries or death, but government officials were scrambling to respond to the latest eruption, which was even bigger than the first eruption that occurred Friday morning. Roughly 16,000 people who live in communities close to the volcano had been evacuated under government orders on Thursday, but an unknown number have remained behind and refused to move.

In a Monday morning post, hours after the early morning explosion, NEMO warned that the volcano “continues to erupt explosively.” “Explosions and accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger magnitude, are likely to continue to occur over the next few days,” Nemo wrote. “#Beware”

Richard Robertson, with the seismic research center, told local station NBC Radio that the volcano’s old and new dome have been destroyed and that a new crater has been created. He said that the pyroclastic flows would have razed everything in their way. “Anything that was there, man, animal, anything…they are gone,” he said. “And it’s a terrible thing to say it.”

Joseph said the latest explosion is equivalent to the one that occurred in 1902 and killed some 1,600. The volcano last erupted in 1979. Ash from the ongoing explosions has fallen on Barbados and other nearby islands.

The ongoing volcanic activity has threatened water and food supplies, with the government forced to drill for fresh water and distribute it via trucks. “We cannot put a tarpaulin over a river,” said Garth Saunders, minister of the island’s water and sewer authority, referring to the impossibility of trying to protect current water sources from ongoing falling ash. He told NBC Radio that officials also are trying to set up water distribution points.

The only people evacuated from St. Vincent via cruise ship are 136 farmworkers who are part of a seasonal agricultural program and had been stranded on the island. The group was supposed to fly to Canada, but their flight was canceled as a result of Friday’s explosion. They arrived Saturday in St. Lucia and will board a flight to Canada from there.

Gonsalves told NBC Radio on Sunday that his government will do everything possible to help those forced to abandon their homes in ash-filled communities. “It’s a huge operation that is facing us,” he said. “It’s going to be costly, but I don’t want us to penny pinch…this is going to be a long haul.” Gonsalves said it could take four months for life to go back to normal in St. Vincent, part of an island chain of that includes the Grenadines. The majority of the 100,000 inhabitants live in St. Vincent.


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