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Gonsalves: Barbados to receive evacuees in case of La Soufriere eruption


Gonsalves: Barbados to receive evacuees in case of La Soufriere eruption
Prime Minister of St Vincent Dr Ralph Gonsalves. (FILE)

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St Vincent’s Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves today declared a disaster alert for the La Soufriere Volcano and reported that Barbados and St Lucia are willing to receive evacuees.

However, he said they will have to be vaccinated against novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

He said his government has also been in contact with friendly nations, including the United States, Cuba, and Venezuela to discuss possible assistance.

Gonsalves also urged residents not to panic.

He said the alert was issued because there is a substantial possibility of an eruption of the volcano.

The prime minister, who was speaking during a live, emergency press conference, earlier today said this is a Stage 3 disaster alert, which takes place within the framework of an Orange alert. This is the stage which immediately precedes an order to evacuate.

He said it is not an evacuation order. The prime minister said officials are putting matters in place for preparation of a possible eruption. Gonsalves told citizens “we will get this right together” and “build back stronger”.

Royal Caribbean has indicated that it could get to St Vincent a cruise ship that can house 1 500 people, who will also have to be vaccinated before they are allowed to occupy the vessel.

Arrangements have also been made for the evacuation of animals.

A bulletin on the Facebook Page of St Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organisation earlier today said: “The steaming/smoking at the La Soufriere Volcano had increased over the last few hours.

Lead scientist Professor Richard Robertson said the La Soufriere volcano could erupt “anytime from now”, following a significant increase in activity. (KG)