Prime Minister St. Vincent is calling for help as the volcanic eruption continues


One-third of his East Caribbean countries, Erupting Las Friere volcanoTuesday, the Prime Ministers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, appealed to the international community to help restore his country.

“What we are facing is an extraordinary existential challenge,” said Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

Leaders have joined the United Nations and launched an urgent call for assistance in addressing the challenges posed by the emerging humanitarian crisis and the ongoing explosion of volcanoes. They are seeking nearly $ 29.2 million in help to cover the next six months and help begin recovery.

Of the 20,000 people evacuated from the Red Zone after the volcano first released ash on April 9, three-quarters have been identified by the United Nations as in great need of urgent assistance.Disaster Crops destroyed in the northern third of the island This has led to water shortages on the island of St. Vincent, where La Soufrière is located. Schools were confused as the building was used as a shelter, and two of the island’s five hospitals had to evacuate.

“Think of us as eating three meals of more than 10 to 12,000 people each day. That’s a tough job,” said Gonzalves. “This is the midnight time of our need and we expect the international community to come to our aid.”

Citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States are waiting to evacuate for free on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Reflection on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Kingstown, St. Vincent, in the eastern Caribbean Sea.

Citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States are waiting to evacuate for free on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Reflection on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Kingstown, St. Vincent, in the eastern Caribbean Sea.

After more than 40 years of dormancy, La Soufrière volcano unleashed ash earlier this month, followed by hot gas and debris avalanches a few days later. The explosion forced evacuation orders and the closure of the national international airport, which remains closed due to ongoing ash purification. Scientists warn that the eruption could last for more than six months.

“It costs millions of dollars and we’re not just talking about tens of millions of dollars,” Gonzalves said while assessing the damage was underway. It will exceed that. Scientists estimate that the volcano released more than 100 cubic meters of ash, which now needs to be cleaned up, he said. You also need to provide social support, water, medical care and housing.

He said the northern part of the country with farmland, fishing grounds and tourism was “all gone.” … now a relatively wasteland. It’s devastation. “

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Reflection sits docked on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, to evacuate groups of British, Canadian and American citizens.

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Reflection sits docked on Friday, April 16, 2021 in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, to evacuate groups of British, Canadian and American citizens.

Gonzalves has joined the United Nations resident coordinator of Barbados and the East Caribbean, Didier Trebook. Traveling to the island by boat, Trevac visited the red and orange zones over the weekend, which were heavily influenced by rainfall and rumbling with Gonzalves.

He described the effects of ash fall as “apocalyptic.”

“We’ve seen many roofs collapse and roads turn into railroad tracks,” said Trevac. “In this part of the island, all the crops are devastated.”

He added that the situation would not be sustainable without the assistance of those who evacuated and those who are accepting evacuees in their homes.

“The majority of the people on this island were affected,” Trebucq said. “Healthcare facilities are also affected. Two of the five hospitals had to be evacuated. This puts even more pressure on the rest of the healthcare system and there is still a lot of uncertainty.”

In addition to resettlement of residents and home repairs, Trebak said ash needs to be cleaned up on neighboring islands, including St. Vincent and Barbados. The country is also strongly influenced by its atmospheric ash. Volcanic activity is in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, and Trevac said he was concerned two months before the hurricane season began.

Scientists at the West Indies University Seismic Research Center, who are closely monitoring the volcano, warned that the island may have been dealing with further ash fall and eruptions for some time. The last major eruption on St. Vincent in 1979 lasted for seven months, Gonzalves said. Another 1902 eruption, which the current eruption appears to mimic, lasted longer.

Unlike the eruption, which killed more than 1,600 people, no deaths from ongoing explosions have been reported. However, humanitarian challenges remain.

“We have to deal with life on our livelihood during that period,” Gonzalves said. “Even if we clean all the ashes and come back, it will take months for the crop to grow, and there are many trees that take longer, such as coconut trees and breadfruit trees. Fruit trees, etc. , Bananas, coconuts. “