Following a Cabinet meeting on Friday, Prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that evacuees from St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) affected by the La Soufrière Volcano could be moving to Dominica early next week.
Just yesterday, the first volcanic eruption at La Soufrière occurred at about 8:40 a.m., sending ash 29,000 feet into the air, less than 24 hours after experts warned that an explosive eruption could take place within 24 to 48 hours.
Speaking to state-owned DBS Radio last evening, Skerrit announced that a technical team led by the secretary of the cabinet went to Portsmouth to visit the Moroccan hotel and to ascertain what we need to put in place to receive those individuals.
“The whole idea is to be in a position to be able to receive our friends from St. Vincent and the Grenadines very early next week,” he announced. “I believe that we can make it happen. It’s just a matter of determining how many people and to inform them and we will be working very closely with the St. Vincent authorities in the transportation of the citizens here.”
The government is confirming the logistics to accommodate a group of Vincentians for a period of up to five months. Government is also making accommodations for students to attend school on the island and according to the Prime Minister, will take full responsibility for the families that will be relocating in Dominica.
A special hotline has been established for Dominicans who wish to offer support in terms of housing or other forms of assistance to house people who need to be evacuated from St. Vincent.
The hotline number is 611- HOST (4678) and the email address, [email protected]
“Whatever we can do as small as it is, within our means, will go a long way in alleviating the plight of those that are affected,” Skerrit stressed to citizens. “We are absolutely firm on receiving our friends from St Vincent; it’s just a matter of finalizing the logistics so that we can share the logistics with the government but Dominica stands in absolute solidarity with the people of St. Vincent.”
On Thursday, the government of SVG ordered an evacuation of the areas closest to the volcano shortly before 5 p.m., and thousands heeded the order.
Following the first eruption on Friday morning, about 2:45 p.m. of that same day, the volcano began pulsing again, followed by several explosive eruptions that sent a plume of ash 51,000 feet into the air.
A third explosive eruption began around 6:35 p.m.
Overnight, the seismic tremors that have been ongoing at the volcano generated energetic venting.
The size of the tremor peaked between 8 p.m. and midnight, Friday, and slowly declined over the next few hours.
Audible rumblings accompanied by ash venting occurred throughout most of the night with ashfall reported throughout St. Vincent and some areas in Barbados.
The explosive eruption came three months after an effusive eruption began at the volcano.
Before Friday’s explosive eruption, a new dome, which was 950 metres (3,117 feet) long, 105 metres (344 feet) high, 257 metres (843 feet) wide and about 13 million cubic metres (42 million cubic feet) in volume, had formed at the volcano.
Experts say that the explosive eruptive phase may continue over the next few days and weeks.
Explosions are expected to be of similar or larger magnitude.
Posted below is a video filmed by a resident of an area in St. Vincent which was affected by the volcanic eruption.