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U.N. says St. Vincent situation could become a humanitarian crisis

Posted at 11:17 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 23:17:44-04

ST. VINCENT — Mount La Soufriere is still erupting on the Island of St. Vincent and now the United Nations (U.N.) is calling for international help and all hands are on deck in helping St. Vincentians who have been pushed out of their homes fear that the volcanoes could cause more problems the COVID-19.

The United Nations says this could become a humanitarian crisis.

With more than about twenty-thousand people displaced nearby Islands Barbados and St. Lucia have offered to take in those trying to escape.

Water, food, and roads have been crippled by the heavy ash fall.

Ash pic Barbados.jpg

Even experts are saying they do not really know how or when the island can recover from this.

“And, of course, it can also cut off roads, and infrastructure, you know, long after the eruption is over. So, so it's a slow process of recovery, you know, from from an eruption of this kind of magnitude” said Dr. Erouscilla Joseph, Volcanologist and Director the University of West Indies Seismic Research Centre.

Some officials worry about how difficult it might be to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during this crisis and resources are running low.

Yet another eruption Friday on the Caribbean Island OF St. Vincent marking a week of devastating explosions and as nearby islands BARBADOS and St. Lucia have begun taking in people escaping the Island the U.N. is warning this may become a humanitarian crisis.

A week later and the La Soufriere volcano on the island of Saint Vincent is still erupting displacing thousands of people on the island.

“We don't have water right now because the water was disconnected with the yesterday morning early and it hasn't been reconnected up to now” Lennox Lampkin stated. “So we have to work with whatever water we have collected.

The thick ash has contaminated water springs and blocked the roads making it hard to access food.

Lennox uses coconut water to stay hydrated and sends his crops to nearby shelters.

His is one of few farms that haven's been devastated by the ash.

“Practically all of us are farmers. a substantial amount of the farmers a marijuana farmers, well, they lost everything because the medical marijuana farmers they stayed although they stick to only within 40 doors, all they had was devastated. Everything was destroyed” Lennox said.

Many who have evacuated from the red zone are afraid to go to shelters because of the crowding and risk of catching COVID-19.

Respiratory issues from the ash are also a concern.

“Oh, you're gonna have post post eruption, water problems, pollination problems, people with respiratory problems, they're gonna have problems as well” Lennox stated.

Volcanologist Dr. Aracelia Joseph says that it may take years for the Island to recover.

It is unknown how much longer these eruptions will last…and recovery can't fully begin until it stops

“And, of course, it can also cut off roads, and infrastructure, you know, long after the eruption is over. So, so it's a slow process of recovery, you know, from an eruption of this kind of magnitude” Dr. Aracelia said.

For now, residents say they'll just have to wait and see what happens.

During a comparable eruption cycle in 1902 explosive eruptions shook the Island for months.

This time around starting on April 9th which has already forced tens of thousands from their homes.