While it may have dwindled from headlines, the hardship continues in St.Vincent and the Grenadines in the wake of the catastrophic April 9 eruption of La Soufrière Volcano.
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The Eruption of La Soufrière Volcano
The event and a series of eruptions that followed blanketed the otherwise pristine collection of Caribbean islands – a beloved travel destination in better times – with heavy ash that wreaked havoc on buildings and farm fields, disrupting water supply and electricity. Later in the month, heavy rain resulted in flooding and landslides that added to the country’s anguishes by destroying some properties and infrastructure, including bridges.
An estimated 25,592 people were evacuated from the northern part of the main island, and some 4,439 of them are staying in one of the 86 public shelters activated by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).
As the recovery continues, the relentless COVID-19 pandemic only compounds the crisis. According to PAHO, Cases of the virus are reportedly increasing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines among internally displaced people due to the volcano eruption.
The Canadian Response
Naturally, Canadians were quick to offer help. “The Canadian response to the country’s call for assistance has been “extraordinary,” said Shelley John, Director of Sales in Canada for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a press release. “The government and the people on the island are bursting with gratitude and emotion at the show of support we have received from Canadians.”
Staying up to Date
Right now, the Universities of West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre provides regular updates on its Instagram page as to what the country needs in this ever-evolving crisis.
According to their latest update on May 12, seismic activity at La Soufrière Volcano is currently low, following a tremor associated with the explosion and ash venting on April 22. However, UWI cautions that the volcano continues to be in a state of unrest. “Escalation in activity can take place with little or no warning,” reads a statement. The volcano alert currently sits at Orange.
The country is far from out of the woods, however, and needs things like nebulizers, puffers and respirator masks, such as the N95 masks, as residents continue to deal with a large amount of ash in the air, according to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
How You Can Help St.Vincent
For anyone wishing to donate items to the people of St.Vincent, there are now three drop-off locations in the Greater Toronto Area, organized by CARI-ON SVG Disaster Preparedness:
- Faith Ministries – 4370 Steeles Ave. W., Unit 20, Woodbridge (10am-6pm)
- Morningstar Christian Fellowship Church – 7601 Sheppard Ave. E., Scarborough (2-7pm)
- New Haven Funeral Centre – 7025 Legion Rd, Mississauga (7am-4pm)
To contact CARI-ON, please email email@example.com or call 416-707-0125.Financial support can also be provided through CARI-ON’s GoFundMe campaign, or by donating to GlobalMedic, a Canadian charity and disaster response agency (on the donation page, from the dropdown ‘Fund’ menu, select ‘4 – Saint Vincent – Volcanic Eruption’).