Fears of water scarcity are mounting and it is estimated that “hundreds of millions of dollars” will be needed to recover from the devastating eruption of a volcano in the Caribbean.
The residents of St. Vincent awoke on Saturday to the rumbling noises of the La Soufriere volcano, which had spectacularly erupted the day before.
A thin layer of ash covers roofs, cars, and roads as the volcano continues to rumble.
And now there are fears that the clean water supply will run out shortly after the ash from the volcanic eruption, which is contaminating the reservoirs and destroying crops.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told local NBC radio he thought the country would need “hundreds of millions of dollars” to recover from the outbreak.
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After decades of inactivity, the volcano erupted on Friday, spitting dark clouds of ash about 10 km into the air, resulting in the evacuation of some residents living nearby.
A witness in the island’s capital, Kingstown, said the volcano continued to vent ash clouds and rumblings on Saturday morning, while videos from the island showed a ghostly landscape with empty streets and hazy skies.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with a population of just over 100,000, have not seen any volcanic activity since 1979, when an eruption caused approximately $ 100 million in damage.
More than 1,000 people were killed in an eruption at La Soufriere in 1902. The name means “sulfur outlet” in French.
The St. Vincent National Emergency Management Organization issued a statement Saturday warning those living near the site to be ready to “evacuate on short notice.”
The agency said on its Facebook page that “strong sulfur smells permeate the air” and urged residents to be careful.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves visited rescue shelters over the weekend, which have limited the number of evacuees due to Covid-19 protocols.
Authorities say they are waiting for scientific evidence before announcing what future steps to take.