The island awakens to the smell of ash and sulfur

Residents of St. Vincent Island in the Caribbean woke up to “extremely intense ash fall and sulfur odor” after the eruption of Las Friere volcano on Friday.

Emergency management officials said Volcanic emissions went to Kingstown, the capital of the country.

According to witnesses, the volcano is still roaring, releasing thousands of meters of dark ash clouds into the air.

Las Friere, who had been dormant for decades, began operations in December.

Thousands of people were displaced, and on Thursday Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves urged more than 16,000 residents of the “Red Zone” to evacuate.

According to St. Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organization (Nemo SVG), ash falls have been recorded to Argyle International Airport, about 20 km (12 miles) from the volcano.

Nemo alerted people with respiratory problems.

“”Please note everything.We are covered in ash and a strong sulfur scent penetrates into the air.. For those with respiratory problems, please take the precautions necessary to stay safe and healthy, “says the Facebook page.

The volcano has been dormant since 1979, but in late 2020 it began to make noises with steam and smoke.

Evacuation bus

Thousands of people evacuated from the surrounding area

The first sign of an imminent eruption was Thursday evening when the lava dome became visible on Mount Las Friere.

Just before 09:00 (13:00 GMT) on Friday, seismologists at West Indies University confirmed that an “explosive eruption” was underway.

The evacuees were taken to a cruise ship and a safer place on the island.

Journalist Robertson Henry, who witnessed the eruption, told Reuters that “it was bright, but then the light began to deteriorate. It was rapidly deteriorating rather than at a slow pace.

“And I know where the volcano, the summit, the crater are. I couldn’t understand it. It was just darkness. And … you feel something hit your skin Started-ash.

“When people looked up, this huge ash was hanging in the sky, quiet, deadly, scary, ominous, and within minutes, I could feel the change in the mood of the town.”

Another explosion was recorded later on Friday, said the UWI Seismic Research Center.

The volcanoes of St. Vincent and the Grenadines record the second major eruption

A second explosion was recorded, creating a large vertical column of ash.

According to Nemo, some evacuation procedures were hampered by a large amount of ash fall that “very poor” visibility.

Most of the Lesser Antilles are part of a long volcanic arc in the East Caribbean Sea.

The last eruption in 1979 caused more than $ 100 million (£ 73 million) to the island.

The worst eruption on record was in 1902, killing more than 1,000 people.

Local media also reported an increase in activity from Mount Pele on Martinique, north of St. Vincent.