There was another “explosive event” in a volcano on the island of St Vincent in the Caribbean, with power outages and water supplies cut off.
The La Soufrière volcano first erupted on Friday, blanketing the island in a layer of ashes and forcing about 16,000 people to leave their homes.
Scientists warn that explosions could last for days – or even weeks.
Emergency officials described the landscape as a “battle zone” saying more damage and destruction was likely.
Crisis management organization Nemo tweeted: “Huge power outage following another explosive incident at La Soufriere Volcano. Lightning, thunder and rumors. ”
He later mentioned “the devastation and possible destruction of communities close to the volcano”, and compared the eruption with the 1902 eruption, the worst in St Vincent’s history when more than 1,000 people were killed. White dust has covered buildings and roads around the island, including in its capital Kingstown.
Ash had begun to harden on the ground after overnight showers and many homes were still without water and electricity, Nemo said.
However, some residents said power was restored by local noon time (16:00 GMT).
Nemo urges people to “be careful on the roads, which have become treacherous as a result of the ash flow”.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said water supplies to most of the island were cut off and its airspace closed due to smoke and thick plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere. Gonsalves said thousands of residents have been sleeping in emergency shelters since Friday. “It’s a huge operation facing us,” he told NBC News.
He said earlier that a lot of volcanic ash had fallen over the sea. “We don’t know how much more is going to come out … so far, we’ve done well in the sense that no one was injured, no one died.”
The Barbados Defense Force has been deployed to St. Vincent to provide humanitarian assistance as part of a disaster response mission, said the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency.
Homes across the island, with a population of around 110,000, are covered with white-colored volcanic dust and rock fragments.
He prompted warnings from officers to stay indoors, while emergency groups advised caution for those with respiratory problems.
“Be careful all along. We are covered in ash and strong sulfur smells permeate the air. We ask you to take the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy, ”said Nemo.
Residents in Barbados, nearly 200km (about 124 miles) east, have also been encouraged to stay indoors.
“This is to protect yourself and your family,” said Chief Medical Officer Kenneth George.
People on the island of St Lucia, about 76km north of St Vincent, have been warned to expect air quality to be affected, with potentially harmful gases making it more difficult to breathe for people with conditions such as asthma, Rodney Bay Medical the island. Center says.
A resident of St Lucia, Olivia, told the BBC that she had never witnessed anything like this before and was concerned about a possible change in wind direction and ash being carried around. ‘ r north.
“I’m terrified of all the effects that are unknown at this point, ash in the middle of a pandemic – nobody’s ready for that,” he said.
“Victoria Hospital has been transformed into a Respiratory Hospital, and is treating COVID patients,” he said, adding: “So technically, people suffering from the effects of asthma would be on the wards with COVID patients.”
More than 130 people who were due to leave St Vincent for Canada had to be taken by ship to St Lucia on Saturday after getting stuck when their flight was canceled.
Other Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Guyana, have offered to send emergency supplies to St Vincent. They also said they would open their borders to those fleeing the explosion. The volcano had been dormant since 1979, but in late 2020 it began to spew steam and smoke and make startling noises.
The first indication that an explosion was imminent came Thursday night, when a lava dome appeared on La Soufrière.
Just before 09:00 on Friday (13:00 GMT), seismologists from the University of the West Indies confirmed that an “explosive explosion” was underway. (BBC)