The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines today declared a disaster alert prompted by a change in the eruptive activity at the La Soufriere volcano within the last few hours.
The declaration was made during a press conference held in Kingstown this afternoon. Details of the change in activity at the volcano were outlined during an 11am Cabinet meeting where ministers were briefed on the state of the volcano by The UWI Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) Geologist Prof. Richard Robertson, current Scientific Team Lead on island. Head of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) Ms Michelle Forbes and Director of The UWI-SRC, Dr. Erouscilla Joseph also attended virtually.
On April 8th at approximately 3:00am local time, volcanic tremor (VT) was observed by scientists based at the Belmont Observatory in St. Vincent. This first band of tremor was later followed by subsequent bands at 5:30am, 8:00am, 10:15am and 1pm. This type of seismic signal is usually associated with movement of magma and fluids close to the surface. Clouds of steam could also be seen from the observatory during the periods of tremor.
At this time, the volcanic alert level remains at ORANGE and NO EVACUATION has been ordered. During the press conference however, Prof. Robertson advised that “Preparation should be finalised for possible evacuation within very short notice as the new signals have significantly increased the possibility of an explosive eruption”. He also stated that scientists are “unable to say definitively when the volcano might erupt”.
At alert level Orange the public is advised to urgently comply with directives issued by NEMO. An explosive phase of the eruption may begin with very little warning.