The government of the United Kingdom and telecoms company, Digicel are providing emergency assistance in response to volcanic eruptions in St Vincent.
The United Kingdom on Monday said it is providing £200,000 emergency assistance in response to volcanic eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where more than 15,000 people have been evacuated since the explosive eruption last Friday.
A statement from the British High Commission said that the rapid crisis funds will help provide lifesaving humanitarian supplies like shelter, sanitation kits and protective equipment.
It said urgently needed technical experts will support relief efforts on the ground, support emergency telecommunications, and restore critical lifeline facilities, like transport links
The UK said the initial funds are being made available through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to support the regional response, through the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
London said it will continue to work with the CDEMA and other agencies to assess the need for further support.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves last Friday ordered an immediate evacuation of people living in the most at-risk areas on the island. The volcano had last erupted in 1979.
“There are no plans for further evacuations. British Nationals in the area should follow the advice of local authorities. Travel to and from Barbados has also been affected, due to the resultant ash cloud. Barbados Grantley Adams International Airport is currently closed, and people should check with the status of flight with their airline,” the High Commission statement noted.
Meanwhile, the Digicel Group said it is providing US$500,000 worth of much-needed items to support the urgent relief efforts in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Digicel says it will work with the government to identify immediate needs as well as procuring and shipping items identified as urgently needed in these early stages by the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO).
“With our priorities being helping to keep people safe and keeping them connected, it’s at times like these that our natural instinct is to want to do everything we can to help. As a company, as a team and as the Digicel family, we are here for the people of St Vincent & the Grenadines and ready to help in a meaningful way,” said Digicel Group Chairman, Denis O’Brien.
“We take our responsibility as a provider of critical national infrastructure very seriously. Ably and energetically led by Fanta Williams, our CEO for Digicel St Vincent & the Grenadines, our Business Continuity Management teams are mobilised on-island and across the Caribbean and our focus is on ensuring our network serves the needs of the people at this critical and unsettling time – and that we come through this together,” he added.