The Secretary-General expresses his deep solidarity with the people and Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines following the eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano.
This crisis comes at the most difficult time, as the world is grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and ahead of the hurricane season.
The Secretary-General commends the local response efforts under way and reiterates the full support of the United Nations.
The volcano La Soufrière began to explosively erupt on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent last Friday. For nearly a week, periodic eruptions have covered the island in ash and volcanic flows of molten rock and gas have gushed down the mountainside. Residents have been displaced and are left without clean water or electricity, adding a humanitarian emergency into the mix.
La Soufrière’s eruption forced approximately 30 villages on the northern portion of the island to evacuate. A report by the World Health Organization and The Pan American Health Organization said 16,000 to 20,000 people are affected. More than 4,000 people are occupying 89 public shelters. Two thousand others confirmed they are staying with friends or family.
Despite mandatory evacuation orders by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves early last week, 127 people were rescued from Owia, a town on the northeastern side of the island and well within the volcano’s danger zone.