St Vincent volcano: foreign nationals are being evacuated

By Hanan Redwan Published on April 19, 2021
St Vincent volcano: foreign nationals are being evacuated

La Soufriere volcano shot out another explosive burst of gas and ash on Friday as a cruise ship arrived to evacuate some of the foreigners who had been stuck on a St. Vincent island coated in ash from a week of violent eruptions.

Richard Robertson, the lead scientist at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, said in an interview with local NBC radio. "Friday morning's blast wasn't a big explosion compared to the ones that we last weekend, but it was big enough to punch a hole through the clouds, Probably got up to 8,000 meters."

The explosions that began on April 9 forced some 20,000 to flee the northern end of the eastern Caribbean island for shelters and contaminated water supplies.

During a comparable eruption cycle in 1902, explosive eruptions continued to shake the island for months after an initial burst killed some 1,700 people. However, the new eruptions so far have caused no reported deaths among a population that had received an official warning a day earlier that danger was imminent.

British, the US, and Canadian nationals were being evacuated aboard Royal Caribbean Cruises' Celebrity Reflection from the harbour in Kingstown, capital of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The ship was due to arrive Saturday in Dutch Sint Maarten.

The US Embassy said those aboard would have to make their travel arrangements home.

Meanwhile, thousands of locals have been stuck in emergency shelters with no idea when they might be able to return home.

A few people, however, never left, defying evacuation orders.

Dozens of foreigners toting luggage descended from tour buses and cars at the port terminal in Kingstown and patiently waited in a line that began in the parking lot and reached deep into the terminal.

They included students from the Trinity School of Medicine and stranded tourists, including families with young children in arms.

It also noted in an official statement that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended against travel on cruise ships because of the chance of getting COVID-19 and said people who had been in close contact with suspected COVID-19 cases were barred from the trip. All aboard were supposed to have a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding.


Hanan Redwan

Hanan Redwan

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