Story at a glance

  • On Thursday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves issued an evacuation order as seismologists warned the volcano showed signs of imminent eruption.
  • The University of the West Indies’s Seismic Research Center said an explosive eruption began around 8:41 a.m. local time.
  • Cruise liners began to arrive Thursday night to assist in evacuating residents and more are scheduled to assist the effort today.

Thousands of people are being forced to evacuate their homes on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent as the La Soufrière volcano began to erupt Friday morning. 

On Thursday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves issued an evacuation order as seismologists warned the volcano showed signs of imminent eruption. Cruise liners began to arrive Thursday night to assist in evacuating residents, and more are scheduled to assist the effort today. 


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According to The Associated Press (AP), approximately 16,000 people live in the red zone and were forced to evacuate. St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua said they will be accepting evacuees. Scientists alerted the government about a potential eruption after seismic activity early Thursday morning indicated magma was moving closer to the surface. 

On Friday morning, the University of the West Indies’s (UWI) Seismic Research Center said an explosive eruption began around 8:41 a.m. local time and is ongoing. 

Photos of the eruption posted to social media show smoke spewing from the dome of the volcano. The National Emergency Management Organization of St. Vincent said ash plumes reached up to 20,000 feet and are headed east. 

An increase in the volcano’s activity has been observed since November as researchers from the UWI detected a series of small volcano-tectonic earthquakes. 

The volcano last erupted in 1979 and a devastating eruption in 1902 killed about 1,600, according to AP. 

St. Vincent has a population of more than 110,000 people.


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Published on Apr 09, 2021