Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders were meeting Thursday in an emergency session to deal with the ongoing eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent.
CARICOM chairman and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, chaired the meeting to “ensure that a fulsome regional response is rolled out in support of the people and government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
The statement said Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) were also invited to participate.
Since last week, CARICOM states, including Trinidad and Tobago, as well as key regional institutions have mobilized significant assistance to the beleaguered nation and are committed to supporting St. Vincent and the Grenadines throughout this challenging period,’ the statement.
La Soufriere blew its cap last Friday, three months after it began to erupt effusively.
The 8:40 a.m (local time) eruption came a mere 15 hours after authorities issued an evacuation order, having been advised by lead scientist Professor Richard Robertson that the monitoring team could not say that the volcano would not erupt in 24 to 48 hours.
The violent eruption sent plumes of ash 29,000 feet into the atmosphere, but was surpassed by an even more powerful one that same afternoon, which sent ash 50,000 feet into the sky.
Since then, there has been between “at least 29 discrete explosions or ash venting,” Robertson said, adding, “that’s a quite busy volcano.”