Huge volcanoes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines erupt as thousands of people evacuate

Huge volcanoes erupted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, officials said Friday, which exploded for the first time since 1979.

The University of the West Indies Earthquake Research Center confirmed that the eruption began at 8:41 am and shared a photo showing a large eruption of smoke above the volcano.

Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate after the threat of a volcanic eruption after a “red warning” was declared Thursday in the eastern Caribbean island nation.

The red warning indicated that an “explosive eruption” of Las Friere volcano was imminent, and Michelle Forbes, head of the state’s National Emergency Management Organization, said all emergency shelters had been activated the day before. Announced.

The community closest to the volcano, located in the Red Zone, was told to start self-evacuation immediately on Thursday. Approximately 6,000 to 7,000 people in approximately 12 districts of St. Vincent are affected by evacuation orders, including maritime evacuation.

NEMO advised that the safe areas of the island are from the Northern Union to Kingstown on the windward side of the island, from Barrowley to Kingstown on the leeward side, and the Grenadines.

“Keep calm, don’t panic,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said at a press conference. “Be orderly. You will be disciplined. By the grace of God we will overcome this very well.”

Gonzalves has agreed that neighboring Caribbean countries will accept evacuees, and announced that cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises are on their way to the island to assist in evacuation.

The Red Alert was prompted by a series of six separate bands of volcanic tremors observed throughout the day starting at 3 am on Thursday by scientists at the West Indies University Seismic Research Center based at the Belmont Observatory in St. Vincent. It was.

In a statement, UWI said the UWI Seismic Research Center’s scientific team, which monitors the volcano and advises the government, also observed steam clouds and ash emissions from the observatory during the shaking episode. ..

“This new type of seismic event has not been observed since the start of the eruption in December 2020,” UWI said. “This type of seismic signal is usually associated with the movement of magma and fluid near the surface.”

UWI geologist and science team leader Richard Robertson said Thursday’s scientists can’t promise that nothing will happen within the next 24-48 hours.

“We wouldn’t be surprised if there was a volcanic explosion during that period,” he said Thursday.

NEMO said on a Twitter page that the new dome has reached the height of the leeward crater.

“Residents will be able to see the glowing / burning look of the dome at night as the dome darkens,” the agency tweeted.

An unresolved natural disaster on St. Vincent has mobilized a wider Caribbean community and private industry. The Caribbean Emergency Management Agency is working with NEMO, and leaders of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, which consists of regional island nations that share a common currency, offer to accept evacuees without a passport. I did.

“If you go to OECS countries, you only need your ID,” said Gonzalves. “This is an emergency and everyone understands it.”

Gonzalves didn’t know the details of the offer to help the Carnival Cruise Line, but said, “The Royal Caribbean has shown that it can be used for a short period of time to accommodate displaced people.”

According to Gonzalves, not all of the crew needed to carry 1,500 people on each of the two ships, but the Royal Caribbean can carry hundreds of people on each ship.

Gonzalves, which has also rejuvenated government-run shelters, warned the Vinsensio people that the country, and the Caribbean, are in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic. Residents were told that not only would they walk with face masks, but cruise ships would need to be vaccinated for everyone before they were allowed to board.

“It is highly recommended to be vaccinated for the health of yourself and others in the shelter. We do not want COVID to occur in the shelter,” he said.

“I don’t want you to panic, that’s the worst thing,” Gonzalves said.