Two massive eruptions from the La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent island have sent residents into a tailspin. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, many citizens have been dealt another cruel blow.
The volcano, dormant for more than 40 years, suddenly erupted twice on Friday, April 9, sending smoke and ash into the atmosphere in a plume six miles high, with lightning strikes visible in the plume.
According to witness descriptions, parts of the island are almost entirely engulfed in ash and smoke, with the thick ash layer also covering people and cars.
“Ashes can cause flight delays as a result of diversions,” the West Indies University Seismic Research Center said on Twitter. “Ash on the ground will irritate people with respiratory diseases and contaminate water sources.”
Experts have warned that the explosions could continue for days or possibly weeks.
La Soufriere volcano has been dormant since 1979, with the most recent eruption causing $100 million in damages. An eruption in 1902 left more than 1,000 people dead, reports the Daily Mail.
The volcano is on the eastern side of St. Vincent, and when the second eruption occurred six hours after the first, thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have just over 100,000 people. About 4,500 residents near the volcano have already been evacuated by boat and road.
On Sunday, the island’s emergency management organization Nemo tweeted to confirm that most of the country experienced power outages due to another explosive event.
Their tweet read: ”Massive power outage following another explosive event at La Soufriere Volcano. Lightning, thunder, and rumblings. Majority of the country out of power and covered in ash.”
Much of the island has been plunged into total darkness. The thick ash later covered the area, including people and vehicles.
The neighboring island nations St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua, and Barbados agreed to accept evacuees providing they were fully vaccinated against the CCP (COVID-19) Virus.
According to St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, only citizens who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be able to board a cruise ship to evacuate from the Caribbean island.
He said: ‘The chief medical officer would be identifying the persons already vaccinated so that we can get them on the ship.’
The residents who had not been vaccinated but were likely to have been immediately vaccinated to take part in the cruise ship evacuations will not be able to board the ships due to potential side effects such as “dizziness.”
No deaths or injuries have been recorded due to the eruption, and Gonsalves urged citizens to remain calm, patient, and vigilant against the coronavirus. He said he spoke to Caribbean governments about accepting the citizens’ identification cards instead of passports if they did not have them.