UN warns that humanitarian crisis will continue for months

UN officials have warned that the humanitarian crisis caused by the volcanic eruption on St. Vincent in the Caribbean will last for months.

Didier Trebucq said nearby islands, including Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, could also be seriously affected.

He is the United Nations Set up an international funding call..

About 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since the eruption of Las Friere volcano last Friday.

It has not erupted before since 1979.

The United Nations coordinator for Barbados and the East Caribbean, Trevac, said the volcano was flooded with ash and smoke clouds every day.

“We anticipate continued explosions and ash fall over the coming weeks, not only in St. Vincent and the Grenada Islands, but also in neighboring islands such as Barbados, which are severely affected, and in Saint Lucia and Grenada.” Told reporters.

Ash and smoke from the volcano

Ash and smoke from the volcano swirls over St. Vincent

He described the situation as “a crisis that requires not only a humanitarian response but also a rehabilitation perspective.”

“This is definitely a crisis that lasts more than six months in subregions, St. Vincent and the other islands,” he said.

Volcanic ash covers the road the day after the eruption of Las Friere volcano on April 10, 2021, about five miles (8 km) away in Georgetown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after decades of inactivity. ..

Roads and buildings on St. Vincent are covered with a layer of volcanic ash

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves visits a shelter on St. Vincent Island

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is visiting shelters throughout the island

According to the United Nations, about 4,000 of the displaced people currently live in 87 shelters, many of which lack basic services such as drinking water. Some have moved with family and friends, while others have boated to nearby islands.

Trebucq said water supply was a top priority for aid teams, followed by shelters.

“Finally, ash purification is an important priority from an environmental hygiene standpoint, but it is also a purification that allows us to return to normal life outside the Red Zone as soon as possible,” he adds. I did.

Map of St. Vincent Island

Map of St. Vincent Island

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said many residents chose to stay on the island rather than evacuate by boat, despite the dangers.

“Some people want to go to different countries, but not many,” he told Grenada’s television show.

“They said they wanted to stay home. I was around some camps. That’s the message.”

When did the new eruption begin?

The volcano has been dormant for decades, but in late 2020 it began to roar and then steam and smoke.

The first sign of an imminent eruption was last Thursday evening when the lava dome became visible in La Soufrière.

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