The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with the concurrence of the Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) and on the advice of Scientists from the Seismic Research Centre, University of the West Indies, has taken the decision to lower the Volcanic Alert Level from Red to Orange.
An Orange Volcano Alert level means that the volcano may resume explosions with less than twenty-four hours’ notice.
Lead Scientist, Roderick Stewart, indicated that the recommendation was being made given that there have been no explosions at the volcano since April 22 and the number of volcanic earthquakes recorded, has also decreased significantly.
As a result of this, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have also taken the decision that residents of communities in the orange zone from Petit Bordel to Gordon Yard on the Leeward side of the island and up to Mt. Young near the RUBIS Gas Station on the Windward side of the island, can return home and carry out normal activities.
The lowering of the Volcano Alert Level to Orange means that residents who evacuated from the Yellow and Orange Zones can now return to their communities to resume living in the comfort of their homes and continue their livelihood. Residents who now are in Emergency Shelters from the following areas can now return to their homes:
Petit Bordel – Gordon Yard on the Leeward side of the island.
Communities as far as the Mt. Young River on the Windward side of the island.
The communities of Chateaubelair, Fitz- Hughes and all communities in the Red Volcano Hazard Zone remain restricted.
Lahars (mudflows) continue to pose a dangerous threat to the river valleys surrounding the volcano including Wallibou and Rabacca. Mudflows observed over the past several days were composed of boulders up to 5m (15 feet) in diameter. Scientists also observed steaming flows, which are likely due to contact with and incorporation of hot volcanic deposits. Lahars can cause damage to property and serious injury to persons in their path.
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) wishes to advise the public that access to the RED Volcanic Hazard Zone is limited to government approved essential work only. Conditions remain hazardous and the potential for injury remains. Residents are also asked to desist from visiting the La Soufrière Volcano.