Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves Thursday ordered the evacuation of several towns as a precaution in view of threatening activity at the La Soufriere volcano.
Inhabitants of Dickson, Georgetown, Walliabou, Richmond, Morne Rond, Fancy, Owia, Point, Sandy Bay, London, Magnum, Orange Hill, Tourama, Overland, Rabacca and Langley Park were ferried to safer locations as the La Soufriere volcano on the northern part of the island likely to erupt, according to emergency officials have warned.
I have issued an evacuation order to all residents living in the red zones on the Northeast and Northwest of the island, Gonsalves said on Twitter. “All residents are asked to act accordingly with immediate effect to ensure their safety and that of their families,” he added. The volcano is situated 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) from the island's capital, Kingstown.
Gonsalves said he was acting on the advice of the island's emergency management office, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), as the island's alert level shifted to red following days of seismic activity. The PM also spoke of a substantial prospect of disaster.
Since the end of last December, the volcano has been active and, according to official sources, a new dome was formed next to the one left inside after the great eruption of 1979.
The government of Venezuela government has announced the sending of humanitarian assistance to the area. Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza announced that under the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples' Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) his country would “in the next few hours (...) send humanitarian supplies and risk experts to cooperate in evacuation and preventive relocation of (the) citizens in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.”
ALBA-TCP Executive Secretary Sacha Llorenti said “we closely follow the events related to the La Soufriere volcano. (...) we are ready to help as much as possible.”
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had not experienced volcanic activity since 1979, while a La Soufriere eruption in 1902 killed more than 1,000 people.