Photo: Jason Beira / Reuters
The Caribbean island of St. Vincent issued a red warning and issued an evacuation order after seismologists warned that Las Friere volcano was showing signs of an imminent eruption.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves issued an order on Thursday after several days of increased seismic activity.
The national emergency management agency of the country said on Twitter that there was a “substantial outlook for the disaster”, and Warning to residents “Get ready and get things done.”
“Safe areas for people to evacuate are from the North Union to Kingstown on the windward side of the island, from Barrouallie to Kingstown on the leeward side, and to the Grenadines,” Nemo tweeted.
According to Nemo, a cruise ship from the Royal Caribbean line was heading to the island to support evacuation efforts.
Geologist Richard Robertson said Las Friere could erupt in hours to days. According to St. Vincent Online Newspaper News 784..
The surveillance station reported a long earthquake. This suggested that fresh magma was about to reach the surface, indicating that the volcano was in the “explosion stage”.
A video posted on social media showed a smoke eruption rising above a volcano, the highest point in the island nations of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
La Soufrière has been more and more active since November. On Monday, researchers at the University of the West Indies reported that the surveillance station had detected a “flock of small volcanic earthquakes.” This has steadily expanded in scale.
“The quake occurred below the top of a 6km-deep volcano. The biggest event reached a magnitude of 3.5 felt by residents living near the volcano,” UWI said in a statement.
The most devastating eruption of La Soufrière was in 1902, when about 1,600 people, most of whom were indigenous Kalinago, were killed.
The last eruption occurred in April 1979, but there were no casualties due to the evacuation of locals.