UN Seeks $29M. for St.Vincent in Response to Recent Volcanic Eruptions

U.N. seeks $29 million for St. Vincent in response to recent volcanic threats
Ash rises into the air as La Soufriere volcano erupts on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent...

The United Nations said that it is seeking $29.2 million to support St. Vincent in recovering from continuing volcanic eruptions that have damaged homes, agriculture facilities, tainted water sources, and forced to relocate up to 20% of the island’s population.

U.N. seeks $29 million for St. Vincent in response to recent volcanic threats
This image shows the Richmond Vale waterfront covered in volcanic ash, in Chateaubelair, St. Vincent, April 13, 2021, a day after another eruption of the La Soufriere volcano. | Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies via AP.

During an online press conference in St. Vincent, Didier Trebucq, the United Nations resident coordinator for Barbados and the eastern Caribbean, described the scene as “apocalyptic.”

“The devastating impact of this event on thousands of people is undeniable,” he said, adding that extra funds will be needed after damage evaluations are done.

Officials are still assessing the severity of the destruction, according to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, but reconstruction would cost “hundreds of millions of dollars,” on top of “massive” humanitarian aid needs.

Over 16,000 residents were evacuated before the first eruption at La Soufriere volcano on April 9. Because of explosions, ash is piled up to 16 inches (42 centimeters) high in some homes in the northern part of St. Vincent, where the volcano is located.

U.N. seeks $29 million for St. Vincent in response to recent volcanic threats
People clean volcanic ash from the red roof of a home after La Soufriere volcano erupted, in Wallilabou, on the western side of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, April 12, 2021. Photo by Orvil Samuel/AP.

Over 6,200 evacuees are being housed in 88 government shelters, with thousands more staying in other homes or private shelters.

Food, water, and ash extraction remain top priorities, as surrounding nations and organizations give supplies and funds to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

So far, United Nations organizations have set aside $2 million for food and water, they will send experts to facilitate ash removal. Countries such as Guyana, Trinidad, Dominica, and Tobago have promised support and sent basic supplies.

Gonsalves outlined that feeding up to 12,000 people is an “extraordinary, existential challenge” for the island.

Gonsalves also complained about the forthcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which begins in six weeks, as well as the pandemic, given that thousands of homeless people are already huddling in shelters and friends’ and family’s houses.

Another issue is that the ash and debris from the explosions will form volcanic mudflows, lahars, as the rainy season is coming to St. Vincent. The first lahar was already reported.

Scientists believe that 100 million cubic meters of ash have fallen, and Richard Robertson, the leader of the science team researching La Soufriere at the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center, said during an online press conference that rains could unleash fast-flowing rivers of mud and debris capable of causing significant harm.

During the press conference, which was aired on local NBC radio, Robertson said that scientists expect another eruption within the next week as the volcano appears to be forming a new lava dome.

While the volcano has been calm in recent days, “it can change pattern within minutes with no sign,” he said. “There’s a lot happening at the volcano that we don’t understand.”

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Gonsalves also said that the northern one-third of St. Vincent will take a long time to rebuild and recover. He noted that the region, which has long relied on agriculture, livestock farming, fishing, and some tourism, is home to many impoverished people.

“None of that exists anymore…. Plants have to be replanted,” he said, his voice breaking. “We have been set back decades.”

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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