The islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the eastern Caribbean were the first to see an eruption of Las Friere volcano in 42 years, but woke up on Sunday with heavy volcanic ash everywhere, an explosive eruption, and a small overnight earthquake. , And there was a new concern. Possibility of community destruction due to large flow of lava droplets and hot gas.
Geologist Richard Robertson said white-colored ash covers everything from rooftops and roads to island vegetation, while scientists at the University of the West Indies Earthquake Research Center talk about the destruction of communities near the volcano. He said he was more and more concerned. He said the video obtained by the team showed evidence of pyroclastic flows, fast-moving volcanic ash, lava droplets, and hot gases that could instantly incinerate all of their pathways.
“They tend to boil the ocean and shoot it across the ocean as bubbles of rapidly moving hot air,” Robertson said. “There are no lava flows, good streams, running objects, red ones … we have rock debris, rocks that shoot down hillsides very quickly and destroy everything.”
Robertson said the hillside community near Las Friere “can not only survive heavy ash, but be destroyed by these streams down the hillside.”
“These streams are a truly moving mass of destruction,” he said when he appeared on a local news program with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. “”If you have the strongest house In the world, they just cover it from the ground with a bulldozer. “
Emergency authorities have described the country as looking like a “combat zone.”
In addition to covering St. Vincent, airborne ash and smoke eruptions also forced the island’s airspace to close, affecting islands near Saint Lucia and Barbados, and perhaps Grenada. Residents of Barbados were urged to stay indoors, and Saint Lucia advised them to be aware of the deterioration of air quality.
According to Robertson, scientists have begun collecting ash samples to examine the ash and see its potential health effects. One effect was already visible.
“The environment was really badly damaged by the massive ash fall, and people’s property and structure will probably be damaged by the ash,” he said.
Meanwhile, the local government continued to be an aide to St. Vincent, with the Barbados Defense Force deploying a delegation as part of its post-volcanic eruption regional security system humanitarian and disaster response mission.
On Thursday, island nation officials ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents of the Red Zone, warning that a 4,049-foot volcanic eruption north of St. Vincent could be imminent.
Authorities warned people to leave again after the first explosion at 8:41 am on Friday. During the evacuation, emergency management personnel reported that poor visibility caused by heavy ash and smoke plumes was interfering with evacuation efforts. According to Robertson, the volcanic explosion released 29,000 feet of ash eruption into the air.
A video shared by Rochelle Baptists on social media on Sunday showed the destruction of the arrowroot plant in Owia, one of several communities in the red zone of the volcano ordered to evacuate.
In the video, the ground is covered with black ash, the rooftop has completely collapsed, and the factory has been destroyed. Other images show an ash-covered country south to the capital Kingstown.
The state’s emergency administration reported that in addition to the series of overnight explosions, there was also thunder, thunder, and rumbling. Most of St. Vincent was out of power and covered in ash, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.
“Third day and everything looks like a battle zone,” NEMO tweeted on Sunday. “A miserable morning when the ashes began to set on the ground for an overnight shower. Many homes still lack water and electricity.”
According to Robertson, the explosion and rumbling sound did not indicate that the event was declining, even with breaks in between. Volcanic activity seemed to follow the pattern of the 1902 eruption, which killed more than 1,600 people instead of 1979, and scared the population, but no one died, he said.
“That is, unfortunately, it can cause more damage and turmoil on St. Vincent, but there are always safe places in the southern part of the country, and now there can be a lot of ash. You can still maintain life and limbs, “Robertson said.
The silver lining, at least for now, means that even if the amount of devastation in the northern part of the island seemed significant, the entire country was not expected to be destroyed.
It began to rain on Sunday. Robertson said the best thing that could happen to St. Vincent was “a lot of rainfall,” even though there was a potential risk of clogging the river and causing floods.
“We want to get rid of it, go into the ocean, in the river, and leave so that it doesn’t affect us,” Robertson said. “The little bad part is that we have a lot of it, so when it enters the river …. it can cause floods in the area, so it may have some negative effects. . “