… Tells a Guyanese in an island that has been hit by a volcano to be its keepers
As the multi-island province of Caricom in St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to tackle the La Soufrière eruptions, which have been sending dense columns of volcanic ash throughout the island and beyond, Guyanese living in that state being encouraged to be keepers of one another. during this natural disaster crisis.
This call was made by the President of the Guyanese Society in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Gwyneth Cambridge.
There are thousands of Guyanese dwellings in the state of that island where the La Soufrière volcano has become active again, and Guyana Times was told that most of them are on the south side of St Vincent, which is currently designated as a Green Zone , but he is still affected by the ascent.
During a telephone interview with Guyana Times, Guyana-born Gwyneth Cambridge grafted other Guyanese on the island to assist their compatriots and women who might be in need.
“What we have to do as Guyanese is to be able to remember that we are one, and remember what our National Motto says: One People, One Nation, One Destiny, and remember that we can be keepers of one another and do what is right and help each other. You see someone who needs help, well, you add that help, because we’re one; and not because we don’t live in Guyana we can’t hold as one people, ”he said.
Cambridge, who has been living in the island state for more than 30 years now, said that while Guyanese are scattered throughout the country, they have been keeping in contact with as many people as they can throughout the Society. However, he explained that the current membership of the association is only 48, and so it has been difficult to reach out to a non-member Guyanese.
Cambridge could not say how many Guyanese could have been living in the Red Zone and had to evacuate their homes. He connected that at least one couple live on the outskirts of the Red Zone, but have not been heard of, have they moved to a refuge or are looking for alternative accommodation.
However, he said, the country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) is currently working to get the names of all the displaced people currently in the 78 Emergency Refugees set up by the Government, or has taken up accommodation in any of the hotels and guest houses identified; or seeking refuge with relatives, friends, or even strangers.
He noted that, by Monday, they should have a better idea of the Guyanese situation there. In the meantime, they have put out, in the Association’s social media chat group, a warning for individuals in need of reaching out for help, or if they know of other Guyanese who need help, to indicate that.
Further, the Association is working with the Guyana Consulate in St. Vincent to contact Guyanese there.
According to Cambridge, although they were aware since October last year that the volcano eruption was imminent, and had been preparing for the event, the reality of the situation has been phenomenal.
“We’ve been hearing about it coming and we’ve had plenty of time to prepare, but sometimes being prepared and being in a position is in itself two different entities. Everyone, including Guyanese in the country, would have had enough time to organize their water storage and other things organized. What we’ve done is, once we realize the volcano is going to erupt, reach out and find out about members…
But right now, everyone is hunkered down and kinda see how long this goes on, ”he said.
The President of the Guyanese Association went on to say that this situation is particularly heartbreaking for Guyanese living on the island, especially as this is a new experience for them. Added to this is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that SVG, like the rest of the world, has been tackling over the past year.
“So the double whammy of it has been a bit overwhelming for us. And as you know from our internal Guyanese experience, we know we are getting rain and flood. But we’re not as much au fait as hurricanes and volcanoes and things like that, so the volcanic eruption is not something that is part of our manifestation and culture in terms of how we experience it. And the whole aspect of COVID coming in and merging with that has now created, in my opinion, a kind of shaky situation, ”asked the recently retired Education Officer.
He noted that they now live in a volcanic island country and will now have to find out how to survive in the midst of the volcanic eruptions that are now part of their lives.
Meanwhile, another Guyanese, Nicholas Johnson, told the
He linked that the entire island of St Vincent had experienced a collapse, and NEMO says the eruptions could last for days, or even weeks.
“Well, everyone is mostly indoors right now. I’m in the Green Zone, so I haven’t seen as much ash as others up north … [But] I’m fine. Stocked on food and water supply, and ready to stay out, ”noted Johnson, who had sent his family back home to Guyana last month.
In an update at 6pm on Saturday, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Center said that following the gradual decline of the almost continuous seismic eruption in the La Soufrière volcano, the seismic network began recording band vibrations from about 3:30 am on April 10. Band tremor is a seismic signal that indicates that fluid (magma and gas) is approaching the surface. Each tremor episode lasted 20 to 30 minutes, with intervals of one to three hours. The episodes seemed to coincide with periods of enhanced venting or explosive activity. The background level of seismic friction between the episodes continued to decrease.
Meanwhile, ash thicknesses from the last 24 hours of explosive activity ranged from about 1mm in Colonaire (12.5km from the volcano) to about 10 to 15mm at Rabacca (7.4km from the volcano).
“Generally, ash thickness and grain size increased from Kingstown north to the volcano. A fall was reported in parts of Barbados and Saint Lucia. The volcano has entered an explosive eruption phase that may continue over the next few days and weeks. Explosions are expected to be of a similar size or larger, ”SRC noted UWI in its latest update.
UWA Geologist Professor Richard Robertson, who is leading the response at La Soufrière, said that although the volcanic ash is not lethal, it is not healthy, and can cause breathing problems.
The streets and buildings in St Vincent are covered with ash, with some roofs caving in from the weight of the volcanic ash.
An Ashfall Warning was issued in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Government of Barbados also issued a Severe Volcanic Ash Warning on Saturday morning after a thick plume of ash began to affect part of the island. St Lucia has also announced Councilor Ashfall.