The Moroccan Hotel as well as several other apartment complexes in the second town of Portsmouth have been identified to house residents of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines if the current activity at the La Soufriere Volcano intensifies.
Though Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit is hoping that the activity in the volcano does not go beyond its current state, he said that he’s been in contact with the sister island’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, and has offered assistance on behalf of the Government and people of Dominica.
“We are prepared to welcome a number of them. As a matter of fact, we have identified the Moroccan hotel where we can house them as well as other facilities and a number of apartment building that we have at Picard as a possible accommodation that the treasury of Dominica would underwrite the cost associated with hosting anyone from Saint Vincent who has to be evacuated from that particular locality,” Skerrit disclosed.
Over the past few months, Vincentians have been warned to be on alert after the volcano, which was last active in 1979, causing two deaths, has begun acting up once again. The most devastating eruption of that volcano occurred in 1902 and claimed the lives of 1680 people.
So far, the leaders from St Lucia and the British Virgin Islands have given the assurance that their country would be willing to take residents and offer assistance if the volcano forces them to leave their homes.
According to Dominica’s Prime Minister, “Saint Vincent is a long-standing friend of Dominica…we have a very strong bilateral relations with Saint Vincent and whatever affects Saint Vincent affects Dominica, whatever benefits Saint Vincent benefits Dominica and vice versa,” he expressed. “So we stand in absolute and total solidarity with the government and people of Saint Vincent during this difficult time.”
The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines just last Wednesday warned residents of communities near the La Soufriere volcano to heighten their preparedness if it becomes necessary for them to evacuate at short notice.
The warning from NEMO came as scientists have noted a change in seismic activity associated with the ongoing effusive eruption of the volcano.
On 29th December 2020, the alert level for the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was elevated to Orange because of increased activity at the site.
Between 6.3o am and 4.pm on Monday 5th April, close to 500 earthquakes were recorded at the La Soufriere volcano.
These latest Volcano-Tectonic earthquakes were also much more intense compared to those which occurred during the period March 23-25 and contained many more small earthquakes, with an average rate of about 50 earthquakes per hour compared with 1.5 per hour in March, according to media reports from Saint Vincent.
NEMO said the current swarm of Volcano-Tectonic earthquakes have been located at a depth about 6 km below the summit of the La Soufrière Volcano.
This is slightly deeper than those recorded between March 23 and 25, 2021 which were located at depths from 3 to 5 km below the summit. (Earlier estimates of these swarms were revised from 10 km to 3 to 5 km).
But while NEMO is encouraging residents in the Red and Orange Volcanic Hazard Zone to increase their preparedness, it said that the alert level remains at “Orange” and no evacuation order or notice has yet been given.
NEMO is also encouraging residents especially persons living in communities close to the volcano to be prepared in the event that it becomes necessary to evacuate at short notice.