Evacuation Order issued as activity intensifies at La Soufriere volcano, SVG

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St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Thursday issued an Evacuation Order for areas close to La Soufriere volcano, after scientists reported increased eruptive activity at the volcano.

The evacuation order which takes immediate effect will cover the North-Eastern and North-Western parts of the island.

Here is the Prime Minister’s announcement:

Guyana offers assistance

President of Guyana H.E. Dr Irfaan Ali immediately pledged his country support as St. Vincent and the Grenadines prepares to undertake the evacuation exercise.

Here is President Ali’s Statement:

H.E. Dr Irfaan Ali

“Having regards to the emerging situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines, this afternoon I called Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and assured him of Guyana’s full support in dealing with this looming crisis.

“The Prime Minister and I discussed immediate support, which will be required in the response.

“The Prime Minister indicated that apart from the need to evacuate citizens, there were other emergency material needs.

“I committed to him that Guyana, upon receiving the full list of their needs, would immediately put together a national response to supply the items and arrange for them to be shipped to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“At this time, we would like to assure the citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines of Guyana’s unwavering support and solidarity.

Grenada to provide 1600 beds

The Government of Grenada is reiterating its support for the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as they face an increased likelihood of an eruption at the La Soufriere volcano.

At a news conference Thursday, Vincentian Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves confirmed that there has been increased activity at the volcano, specifically a series of low-level seismic tremors. Scientists monitoring the volcano say this could be indicative of fresh magma trying to reach the surface.

Subsequent to that media briefing, Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell spoke to his Vincentian colleague, assuring him that the Government and people of Grenada stand in full solidarity with their brothers and sisters in St. Vincent.

Dr. Mitchell reaffirmed the country’s pledge of 1,600 beds at St. George’s University to accommodate persons who may need to be evacuated. This pledge was initially made in December last year, following an emergency meeting of OECS leaders.

The Prime Minister has since spoken to the Chancellor at SGU who assured him that all systems will be put in place to quickly accommodate evacuees, should the need arise.

The possible volcanic eruption and resulting potential for the evacuation of residents comes in the midst of the global pandemic with several countries struggling to reduce the number of new cases while at the same time, pushing ahead with vaccinationprogrammes.

Dr. Mitchell noted that even as Grenada prepares to accept evacuees, protecting the health and safety of Grenadian nationals remains of paramount importance. The Grenadian leader said his Vincentian counterpart has assured him that persons being evacuated will be required to have at the very least, their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, rigorous testing will be undertaken in keeping with Grenada’s entry protocols.

Evacuees are advised that the process will be coordinated between the Governments of both countries, with an appropriate transfer mechanism being utilised to transport persons from one mainland to the other.

Other pledges of support have been made to the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but we continue to hope that they are spared an explosive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.

Trinidad and Tobago also ready to assist

Hon Stuart Young

Press release from the Minister of National Security, Port of Spain:

The Minister of National Security the Honourable Stuart R. Young M.P. has, on the instructions of Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley M.P., Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, spoken to the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Honourable Ralph Gonzalves M.P., and advised that Trinidad and Tobago stands ready to assist St. Vincent and the Grenadines as required, in light of increasing activity at the La Soufriere Volcano.

Minister Young has instructed the Acting Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier General Dexter Francis, to have members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force on standby to provide any assistance to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines that may be necessary.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago will continue to monitor the situation and stay in touch with the authorities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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