The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has mobilised efforts to support St Vincent and the Grenadines in the face of the imminent eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano.
Chairman of CARICOM and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said following the evacuation order of the immediate area around the volcano by St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the CARICOM Member States had offered support to house evacuees from the affected area.
In a media release, the CARICOM chairman said that the scientific team from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre (SRC) has been in the country constantly monitoring the volcano and rendering scientific advice to the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has been working alongside the St Vincent National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), the SRC and the Regional Security System (RSS),” the release said.
“The Community stands with the Government and People of St Vincent and the Grenadines in this perilous situation.”
Earlier yesterday, Minister of National Security Stuart Young had also said that Rowley had instructed him to offer assistance to St Vincent and the Grenadines. Young said he alerted the T&T Defence Force and they were ready to be on the ground in St Vincent should the need arise.
In an interview with CNC3 news last night, Gonsalves said between 18,000 and 20,000 would be impacted by any possible eruption and had to be relocated.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic was also affecting the evacuation process and they were using schools and learning resource centres as shelters.
Gonsalves said the country had a “reasonable” supply of the AstraZenenca vaccine and was encouraging vaccinations. He said four cruise ships were expected to arrive within the coming days to assist with possible housing of evacuees.
He said the cruise ships will only be taking people who are vaccinated but said he does not see that as a problem.
Gonsalves said the governments in the region have responded “magnificently” in the wake of this emergency.
The Venezuelan airline is also going into the country to assist and Gonsalves said Cuba was also providing aid to the country.