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Plumes of ash rise from the La Soufriere volcano as it erupts on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, as seen from Chateaubelair, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)

The World Bank yesterday announced that it disbursed US$20 million to support the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the crisis posed by the La Soufrière volcano eruption.

“The explosive eruption began on April 8 and has required the evacuation of 20,000 people from the high-risk zones around the volcano, both to other parts of Saint Vincent and surrounding countries. Explosions are continuing, and the falling ash is causing air quality concerns and interruptions in electricity and water supply,” a release from the World bank stated yesterday.

Tahseen Sayed the World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean said “our hearts are with the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines during this crisis.”

“We are committed to supporting the response efforts at this critical time when the country faces this new disaster while already managing the social and economic effects of the pandemic,” Sayed stated.

The funds are disbursed from a contingent credit line from the World Bank, known as the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) which was approved last June.

“The Cat-DDO instrument is designed to provide immediate liquidity to support a country’s efforts to recover from disasters triggered by natural hazards or a public health emergency. In recent years, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has been making efforts to strengthen its preparedness and capacity to respond to disasters,” the release stated.