Energy & Environment

St. Vincent evacuated over imminent volcanic eruption concerns

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The island of St. Vincent, located in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea, issued an evacuation order Thursday after seismologists said the La Soufrière volcano showed signs of imminent eruption.

The order from Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves comes after several days of increased seismic activity according to The Guardian.

“Substantial prospect of disaster. Level 3 declared by Prime Minister. NEMO boss tells residents to ‘be ready, get your things in order,’” St. Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) tweeted Thursday. 

La Soufrière’s most devastating eruption was in 1902, killing around 1,600 people, according to the Guardian. Its last eruption was in April 1979.

Videos posted on social media show smoke billowing out the top of the volcano.

According to NEMO, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is headed to the island to aid in evacuation efforts.

The most recent estimates from The World Bank show that St. Vincent has a population of more than 110,000 people.

An increase in La Soufrière’s activity has been observed since November, The Guardian reports, with researchers from the University of the West Indies (UWI) saying they had detected a “swarm of small volcano-tectonic earthquakes.”

“The earthquakes were located beneath the volcano’s summit at 6km depth. The largest event reached the magnitude of 3.5 that was felt by residents living close to the volcano,” UWI added.

Tags Saint Vincent Soufrière volcanoes

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