Volcano erupts on Caribbean island

───   10:12 Sat, 10 Apr 2021

Volcano erupts on Caribbean island  | News Article
Photo: AFP/The UWI Seismic Research Centre

Ash and hot gravel rained down on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent after powerful eruptions from a volcano that had been dormant for decades sent thousands of panicked locals fleeing to safety.

The initial blast from La Soufriere, the highest peak in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, sent plumes of hot ash and smoke 6,000 meters into the air on Friday morning, the local emergency management agency said. 

A second, smaller eruption took place Friday afternoon, belching out a 4,000-meter-high ash cloud, the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre said.

"Evacuation of people in the red and orange zones to safe areas continues in earnest. Heavy ashfall has halted the process somewhat since visibility is extremely poor," the National Emergency Management Ogranization said. 

The La Soufriere -- French for "sulphur mine" -- had not erupted since 1979 and its largest blow-up happened over a century ago, killing more than 1,000 people in 1902.

It had been rumbling for months before it finally blew.

It is now likely to keep erupting for days or weeks, scientists at the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago, tweeted.

"Once there is one explosive eruption it is likely others can occur," the university's seismological research center said.

The emergency managemet agency warned that rainfall could harden the ash fall and pose a danger to human life.

As of early Friday afternoon, most of the people in the red zone had been moved to safety, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency said.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises said they were sending two ships to assist the evacuation effort. 


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