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St Vincent volcano: Caribbean island 'like a battle zone' after more eruptions
11 April 2021, 10:14 | Updated: 11 April 2021, 15:01
The Caribbean island of St Vincent "looks like a battle ground", with many homes without water and electricity following another "explosive event" at La Soufriere volcano, the country's emergency organisation has said.
Around 16,000 people have already been displaced on the island, with evacuation orders issued following multiple powerful explosions on Friday.
On Sunday, St Vincent's National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) tweeted: "Day [number three] 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."
Earlier they warned: "Massive power outage following another explosive event at La Soufriere Volcano. Lightning, thunder and rumblings. Majority of the country out of power and covered in ash."
Residents in Barbados, nearly 200km (about 124 miles) to the east, have also been urged to stay indoors.
The initial eruptions on Friday shot an ash column more than 33,000 feet (7km) into the sky, with lightning crackling through the towering cloud of smoke.
They are the first at La Soufriere since 1979, while one in 1902 killed around 1,600 people.
Worryingly, the current activity pattern of the volcano is "similar to that of [the] 1902 eruption", according to NEMO.
Nearby communities may see "destruction and devastation" from pyroclastic flows, they added, with the Prime Minister warning the area looks "desolate"
La Soufrière volcano erupting on St. Vincent from GOES, 30 min ago. Volcanic plume development is on a whole other temporal/energy level compared to atmospheric convection, or even wildfire PyroCb. 1-min meso scanning essential to resolve detail! #LaSoufriere #LaSoufriereEruption pic.twitter.com/MsIWTO8MmW— Michael Charnick (@charnick_wx) April 10, 2021
Cruise ships have been brought in to evacuate people from the island, but are reportedly only taking those who have been vaccinated against Covid.
So far no deaths have been reported, however experts have warned explosive eruptions could continue for days or even weeks.
St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told the local NBC Radio station: "Agriculture will be badly affected, and we may have some loss of animals, and we will have to do repairs to houses, but if we have life, and we have strength, we will build it back better, stronger, together."
But he added that dependent on the damage caused by the explosion it could take months for life to return to normal.
Ash has blocked out the sky in St Vincent and surrounding islands, with "strong sulphur smells" also reported as a result of the eruptions.
The "sustained ash fall" has also disrupted transport, with with nearby Barbados' international airport closed until Monday at the earliest.
In Barbados, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George advised people to stay indoors for all but highly essential purposes.
“Unless you have reason to be outside, stay in your house. This is to protect yourselves and your family,” he urged.
People with asthma or respiratory disorders were told to take particular care.