Ash rains down on Caribbean island after volcanic eruption

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Ash covered the streets of Caribbean island St. Vincent on Saturday after La Soufrière erupted.

The volcano erupted on Friday, but clouds of ash continued to surround the island, covering streets and homes, Reuters reported.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves ordered an evacuation of towns close to the volcano, and 20,000 people left the surrounding area by Friday. 

A witness told Reuters that there was rumbling from the volcano and ash coming out of it Saturday morning.

It is possible for larger explosions to occur following the one that took place Friday, according to the wire service, and they may go on for weeks or months.

COVID-19 has complicated evacuations amid the eruptions, as the surrounding islands that agreed to host evacuees, including St. Lucia, Grenada and Barbados, still have restrictions in place, The New York Times reported.

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship heading to the island to help evacuate people requires passengers to be vaccinated before boarding, and surrounding islands willing to take refugees require coronavirus vaccinations, Gonsalves said.

Even shelters on the island are limiting those who can come in and recommend a vaccine, the prime minister added. 

St. Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organisation released a statement on Saturday telling residents to be ready to “evacuate at short notice” as “steaming/smoking” has increased.

The last eruption was in April 1979, and no one was killed.

Tags Volcano

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