St Vincent has declared a red alert and issued an evacuation order after seismologists warned that the La Soufrière volcano shows signs of an imminent eruption.
Residents of Fitz-Hughes, Chateaubelair and Petit Bordel who required transportation to reach a safe area were this evening asked to get to the Chateaubelair Jetty immediately as St. Vincent braces themselves for an explosive eruption from the La Soufrière volcano.
At approximately 7:30pm the ship, Gem Star, had docked awaiting to evacuate citizens from the red zone.
Earlier in the afternoon, NEMO SVG, fully activated its National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) indicating that the centre will operate 24/7 with immediate effect as geologist Richard Robertson said that La Soufrière could erupt in a matter of hours or days.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves issued the evacuation order effective immediately this afternoon, noting that the safe areas on the island are those from North Union to Kingstown, on the Windward side of the island, Barouallie to Kingstown on the Leeward side and the Grenadine Islands.
Mere hours prior to the order being given, a video posted on social media sites and messaging platforms showed a plume of smoke towering above the volcano. At approximately 7:30pm, Thursday night, on the Facebook live of Vincentian Patel Matthews, viewers had a glimpse of the glowing volcano with fire emanating from the crater of the volcano.
Quick respondents and members of the island’s National Red Cross had for weeks been training and planning evacuation techniques should they face a volcanic eruption. Community men and women in red zones such as Fancy and Point which is home to approximately 200 people and Overland ran various simulations in anticipation of an explosive eruption from La Soufrière.