The Government of Saint Lucia and OECS member states continue to monitor the ongoing volcanic activity happening at La Soufriere in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and pledged to support the sister isle if activity intensifies.
Increased activity at La Soufriere was observed on November 1st, 2020 and was considered within normal range until mid-December 2020. Satellite images confirmed a hot spot late in December and authorities have now confirmed that there is a dome building on the side of the volcano.
“We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” says Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Honourable Allen Chastanet. “A lot of discussion is taking place behind the scenes between Saint Lucia’s and St. Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organisations and contingency plans are being put in place should there be an explosive eruption.”
An emergency OECS meeting took place on December 31st, 2020 to discuss the logistics for a regional response to support St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Martinique was also included on the virtual meeting as the country has also reported increased activity at Mount Pelee from December 3rd, 2020.
According to the Prime Minister, officials from the UWI Seismic Research Centre and the Martinique Volcanological and Seismological Observatory state that the heightened volcanic activity in Martinique and St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not related but urge territories to monitor the situation closely.
“Governments throughout the region are leaning on these authorities to help make informed contingency plans should there be an eruption. As a country, we also must factor in how this can affect us domestically. As a Nation we are preparing and working very closely with our NEMO and The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) the inter-governmental agency for disaster management in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).”
Discussions are being held about how Saint Lucia can help should there be a possibility of evacuation and how the country can absorb evacuees in a safe and timely manner.
Prime Minister Chastanet called on Saint Lucians to continue to pray for the safety of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
For more information about the ongoing volcanic activity visit the UWI Seismic Research Centre on Facebook or visit their website at www. uwiseismic.com.