St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Thursday declared a disaster alert prompted by a change in the eruptive activity at the La Soufrière volcano, according to the country’s National Emergency Management Organization.
The island is on red alert, meaning an eruption is “imminent now,” NEMO said.
On Thursday, UWI Seismic Unit Scientist Richard Robertson had predicted an eruption within 48 hours.
Evacuation orders are in place in about a dozen districts of St. Vincent, affecting roughly 6,000 to 7,000 people, a spokesperson for the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, or UWI-SRC, said.
Scientists at the Belmont Observatory in St. Vincent observed a volcanic tremor on the island at about 3 a.m. local time, according to UWI-SRC.
The first band of tremors was followed by four more with the latest at 1 p.m. This type of seismic signal is usually associated with movement of magma and fluids close to the surface, according to UWI-SRC.
Meantime the Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley Prime Minister Of Trinidad and Tobago says CARICOM has mobilized to support St Vincent and the Grenadines as it faces the possibility of an imminent eruption of La Soufriere Volcano.
He said 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).
CDEMA has activated its regional support operation including the deployment of a specialist to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Agency is providing technical assistance to NEMO with Evacuation and Logistics Planning.
Rowley wrote that the Community stands with the Government and People of St Vincent and the Grenadines in this perilous situation.