St Vincent’s volcano ash blankets

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent and the Grenadines, (Reuters) – Residents of the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent woke up today to shocking noises emanating from the spectacular La Soufriere volcano a day earlier, while a thin layer of roofs, covered cars with ash. and roads.

After decades of inactivity, the volcano erupted on Friday and spewed dark clouds of ash about 10 km (6 miles) into the air and prompted the evacuation of some residents living nearby.

A Reuters witness in the island’s capital of Kingstown said the volcano continued to breeze clouds of ash and rumble Saturday morning, while videos of the island show a ghost-like landscape, with empty streets and foggy skies.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which has a population of just over 100,000, has not experienced volcanic activity since 1979, when an explosion created about $ 100 million in damages. An explosion by La Soufriere in 1902 killed more than 1,000 people. The name means “sulfur outlet” in French.

St Vincent’s National Emergency Management Institute issued a statement at 10 am ET (1500 GMT) saying that “steaming / smoking” of the volcano has increased in the last few hours, warning those living near the site to be ready to “evacuate. at short notice ”.

Earlier, the agency said on its Facebook page that “strong sulfur smells permeate the air” urging residents to exercise caution.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who ordered evacuation of residents near the explosion, toured rescue shelters on Saturday that have imposed restrictions on the number of evacuees they take because of the COVID-19 protocols.

Authorities say they are waiting for scientific findings before announcing what actions they will need to take in the future.