The United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, announced $100,000 in humanitarian assistance for people affected by the violent eruption of La Soufrière Volcano in early April. The assistance will go to help the estimated 20,000 people of St. Vincent who have been evacuated by local authorities for an undetermined amount of time.
La Soufrière Volcano began showing signs of increased activity in December 2020. An explosive eruption occurred on April 9, sending clouds of ash several miles into the air, resulting in heavy ashfall across the island. Repeated eruptions have continued for more than a week.
The assistance will go to the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to evacuees, including emergency food, safe drinking water, and shelter supplies. More than 6,000 people took shelter in emergency evacuation sites. USAID is coordinating closely with local and regional disaster response authorities and organizations, including the local government’s National Emergency Management Organization, which is leading the emergency response.
The United Nations reported the priority needs of populations in evacuation shelters and other affected communities included food, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance. In addition, the volcanic activity damaged agricultural land and infrastructure on the island, and water systems were not operational due to contamination risk. The government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is conducting assessments of these affected areas.
The joint USAID-United States Geological Survey Volcano Disaster Assistance Program also continues to support the University of the West Indies Seismic research center to monitor La Soufrière Volcano, as it is unknown how long the eruption will continue. These teams have increased collaboration since the volcano’s activity increased last December.
The United States is committed to working closely with organizations and governments to provide assistance to people affected by the eruption of La Soufrière Volcano in St. Vincent.
For information on how individuals can help, please go to www.cidi.org.