By Ellie-Louise Style
Water supplies cut off and power outages are now affecting the people of St Vincent’s.
The La Soufriere volcano has been erupting since Friday. Roughly 16,000 people have had to flee from their homes in Kingstown and get to safety.
It has left lots of ash in the air and blanketed the island. Even people in Barbados have been warned to stay indoors, as the ash cloud is now drifting over to them as well.
Chellise Rogers who is a resident in the village of Biabou (a safe area away from the volcano) said: “It’s exhilarating and scary at the same time…It’s the first time I am witnessing a volcano eruption.”
Scientists have warned that this eruption could continue for days or even weeks.
Richard Robertson who’s a geologist with the University of West Indies Seismic Research Center said: “The first bang is not necessarily the biggest bang this volcano will give.”
Nobody had yet been injured by the eruptions, but lots of people have fled their homes and are now staying in emergency shelters. Airspace has been closed down because of the ash and the majority of the water supplies have been shut down. The island has a population of 110,000.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said: “We don’t know how much more is going to come out… so far, we have done well in that nobody got injured, nobody is dead.”
Many countries around them including Barbados, Antigua and Guyana are offering St Vincent support by sending emergency supplies. They have also stated that they would open their borders to those who are fleeing from the eruption.
The Barbados Defence Force has also deployed assistance as part of disaster response.
Barbados and St Lucia are also on high alert because of the ash spreading over to their islands.
Olivia who lives in St Lucia told the BBC: “I am terrified of all the effects that are unknown at this point, ash in the middle of a pandemic- no-one is prepared for that…Victoria Hospital has been transformed to become the Respiratory Hospital and is treating Covid patients. So technically, persons suffering from the effects of ash inhalation would be on the wards with Covid patients.”
This is the first time the volcano has erupted since 1979. It does have a long and gloomy history of erupting quite a few times. In 1902 it ruined a large chunk of the island after an eruption.
La Soufriere is the youngest volcano on the island and its eruptions are usually a lot more violent. The activity from the volcano started in December 2020, as the volcano started making rumbling noises while spewing out smoke and steam.