The site of the vandalised monitoring station for La Soufrière volcano, where important monitoring equipment was stolen, on Wednesday 30 March 2022. This January 2022 image shows local technicians and volunteers, along with scientists, installing equipment at the summit. (Image courtesy NEMO via UWI Seismic Research Centre)

A seismic station located in Greiggs, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), was vandalised and equipment stolen, earlier this week, according to a statement issued by the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO).

The NEMO statement said:

“The Soufriere Monitoring Unit visited the site at Greiggs on 30th March, 2022 where a seismic station is installed. The wires to the seismic station were cut and the solar panel removed. This site was established in June 2021 after the explosive eruptions of the volcano. This means that no data is available from this site.”

NEMO added:

“The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) is making an urgent plea for members of the public NOT TO TAMPER WITH OR REMOVE ANY EQUIPMENT THAT IS USED TO MONITOR ACTIVITY AT THE LA SOUFRIÈRE VOLCANO.”

The organisation has issued an urgent call for information on the incident so that action can be taken.

“NEMO is urging anyone with information on damage to the seismic station to report it to the nearest police station or contact the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force at +1 (784) 457-1211 or +1 (784) 456-2906.”

Dr. Erouscilla Joseph, Director of the Seismic Research Centre, expressed concern about the Centre’s work being hampered by the incident:

“This station forms part of the improved network for monitoring the La Soufrière volcano. Without this equipment we cannot monitor earthquakes or the volcano effectively. This is a real concern as given the recent eruptions in 2020-2021, La Soufrière must be closely monitored at all times to ensure public safety”.

It was only on March 17th that the Volcano Hazard Alert Level for La Soufrière was downgraded to GREEN by the SVG authorities, after it was determined that seismic activity at the volcano has been decreasing steadily, and was back to pre-2020-2021 eruption levels.

The incident came as St Vincent and the Grenadines undertook several emergency and evacuation readiness exercises, as part of its observance of Earthquake and Tsunami Awareness Month, during March 2022.