The La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of Saint-Vincent erupted on Friday after authorities ordered the mandatory emergency evacuation of thousands of people.
Ash plumes from an explosive eruption soared to 20,000 feet and moved east, the country’s National Emergency Management Organization tweeted on Friday.
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“Please leave the red zone immediately,” he urged residents immediately after the event. “La Soufrière has erupted. Ash fall recorded all the way to Argyle International Airport.”
The University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Center wrote in its own post that the explosive eruption occurred at 8:41 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.
“Ashes started to fall on the flanks of the volcano and surrounding communities, including Chateaubelair and Petite Bordel. Some have gone offshore and even reached the Observatory,” they wrote alongside a series of photos showing ash plumes.
Officials tweeted that the volcano dome in the northern region of the island could be seen glowing overnight.
The Associated Press reported on Friday that the UWI Seismic Research Center said more explosions could follow.
On Thursday, they said about 16,000 residents live in the “red zone” and should be evacuated either aboard cruise ships, to neighboring islands, or to shelter elsewhere in Saint-Vincent outside the zone. red.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated efforts and St. Vincent’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told reporters at a press conference that those seeking refuge aboard a cruise ship or d ‘another island should be vaccinated.
He also said he was talking to governments in the Caribbean to accept people’s ID cards if they don’t have passports. The islands of Saint Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua have said they will accept evacuees.
“This is an emergency situation, and everyone understands that,” Gonsalves said, adding that those who choose to go to a refuge in the chain of islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are also vaccinated.
“I don’t want you to panic,” he ordered. “It’s the worst thing to do.”
Two Royal Caribbean cruise ships and two Carnival cruise ships are expected to arrive by Friday, and emergency management teams have provided transportation to safer locations, including predetermined shelters.
In an email, Carnival told Fox News on Friday that its ships will arrive Friday afternoon and that each ship will accommodate up to 1,500 residents who will be taken to neighboring islands.
“Every precaution will be taken to protect the health and safety of the Carnival crew and passengers boarding the ships,” they said.
This comes after days of seismic activity recorded in the region and after an effusive eruption of the volcano in late December.
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An effusive eruption is dominated by lava effusion on the ground, while explosive eruptions are characterized by violent fragmentation, according to the US Geological Survey.
The volcano last erupted 42 years ago, and an eruption in 1902 killed around 1,600 people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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