Only vaccinated locals allowed to evacuate St Vincent after volcano eruption

People searching for shelter after volcanic eruptions on a Caribbean island have been told they will only be evacuated onto cruise ships if they have been vaccinated against Covid.

Over 16,000 people in St Vincent were forced to leave their homes after the La Soufrière volcano erupted for the first time in 42 years.

It began spewing smoke and ash into the air on Friday morning.

Most of the island is covered in volcanic ash and has no power or running water, so people are being evacuated onto cruise ships and safer areas, reports The Sun.

But speaking at a news conference on Friday, St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said that only people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to onboard the ships.

"The chief medical officer would be identifying the persons already vaccinated so that we can get them on the ship," he said.

Mr Gonsalves said thousands of people who have not been vaccinated will remain on land and many of them are staying at hotels or shelters in safe zones.

When the volcano erupted on Friday morning, it sent dark clouds of ash six miles into the air.

According to St Vincent's National Emergency Management Organisation (Nemo), ash fall has been recorded over 12 miles away from the volcano, at Argyle International Airport.

There have been no reports of anyone being killed or injured by the initial blast or those that followed.

  • Princess Anne in moving tribute to 'my teacher and supporter' Prince Philip

But earlier on Sunday, Nemo tweeted: "Day no 3 and everything looks like a battle zone.

"Dreary morning with the ash beginning to harden on the ground due to overnight showers. Many homes still without water and electricity."

Scientists have warned the eruptions may continue for the next few days or weeks.

The last volcanic eruption in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where just over 100,000 people live, was in 1979 and it caused around $100 million of damage.

La Soufrière was dormant until December 2020, when it started spewing steam and smoke, and making rumbling noises.

The Prime Minister ordered an urgent evacuation on Thursday evening, when a lava dome became visible and scientists warned an eruption was imminent.

But Nemo says the evacuation as hindered by the heavy ashfall, which made visibility "extremely poor".

The island's worst volcanic eruption on record, which happened in 1902, killed more than 1,000 people.

Source: Read Full Article