(NEMO / CMC) Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves has issued an evacuation order effective immediately.
The safe areas are those from North Union to Kingstown, on the windward side of the island, Barouallie to Kingstown on the Leeward side and the Grenadine Islands.
The announcement on the advice of the country’s disaster officials, after Professor Richard Robertson, the chief scientist monitoring the volcano, reported further activity in La Soufriere.
“I hereby order as follows: 1) the evacuation of all buildings in the red zone areas in the north east and north west of St Vincent and the evacuation of the area itself. . . and 2) the prohibition of persons, boats or vehicles constitutes such premises and areas, except for the purpose of operating the said evacuation, ”he said.
Gonsalves added that while the evacuation order would be issued today, it would take effect immediately.
“I want to encourage all of our people to be calm, stay calm, be disciplined, be organized.”
The Prime Minister said Royal Caribbean is offering three of its ships, two of which are expected to arrive this morning, while Carnival Cruise Line has also indicated that two of its cruise ships will now be in the country to transport evacuees.
“The Royal Caribbean cruise ships will first be used to transport people from St Vincent and the Grenadines to be moved to other countries in the region that have offered temporary hospitality, namely St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua, ”he said explain, adding that the British Virgin Islands have also offered assistance but no arrangements have been made.
Gonsalves noted that other Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and St. Kitts and Nevis have also offered support.
A bulletin on the St Vincent’s National Emergency Management Institute Surface Page earlier today said: “The steam / smoking at La Soufriere Volcano had increased over the last few hours.
Lead scientist Professor Richard Robertson said the La Soufriere volcano could erupt “any time now”, following a significant increase in activity.
Meanwhile, CARICOM Chairman, Trinidadian Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley issued the following statement:
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has convened in support of St Vincent and the Grenadines as it faces the prospect of the impending La Soufriere Volcano.
Following the evacuation order of the surrounding area around the volcano by Prime Minister Dr The Hon Ralph Gonsalves, CARICOM Member States have offered support to house evacuees from the affected area.
The scientific team from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center (UWI) has been in the country constantly monitoring the volcano and providing scientific advice to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) has been working alongside St Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), the SRC and the Regional Security System (RSS).
CDEMA has activated its regional aid operation including deploying a specialist to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Agency provides technical assistance to NEMO with Evacuation Planning and Logistics.
The Community stands with the Government and People of St Vincent and the Grenadines in this dangerous position.