A Caribbean island has issued a red alert and ordered an evacuation following warnings of an “imminent” volcanic eruption.
St. Vincent residents have been told to leave their homes because the risk of an outbreak has increased significantly.
The government said Thursday that the danger is concentrated in the La Soufriere volcano in the north of the island.
Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said people who live in so-called red zones in the northwest and northeast of the island should leave immediately as the volcano pumps out more smoke and steam.
“There is an evacuation order in the country now,” he said in a message broadcast on social media.
St. Vincent’s NEMO (National Emergency Management Organization) said on Twitter that La Soufriere now has a “significant prospect of disaster” due to increased seismic activity.
At a press conference the geologist Richard Robertson According to reports These signals indicate that La Soufriere could erupt in a matter of hours or days.
He also said monitoring stations reported low seismic activity at 3 a.m. on Thursday with four different incidents at different times, no later than 10 a.m.
Ships helped with the evacuation effort as the “glowing, fiery look” of the volcano’s lava dome would become visible as darkness fell on the area, NEMO said.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with a population of just over 100,000, have not seen any volcanic activity since 1979.
More than 1,000 people were killed in an eruption at La Soufriere in 1902.
Local media have also reported increased activity from Mount Pelee on the island of Martinique, north of St. Vincent on the other side of St. Lucia, in the last few days.