By Demion McTair. Updated 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, December 29, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – All residents in communities from Fancy to Georgetown, on the northeastern side and in North Leeward from Belle Isle upwards on the northwestern side of St. Vincent, must be on alert.
This is because of increased activity taking place at La Soufriere with emission of heat and steam in an effusive eruption. An orange level alert has been issued.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said at a media briefing on Tuesday, in the Cabinet room – “you may get an order to evacuate” if the scientific information indicates such.
Dr. Gonsalves said that currently, there is no evacuation order in effect, but, all residents living close to the volcano must be on alert if the situation escalates.
He said that all recreational activities to the volcano are to be suspended with immediate effect.
Three scientists received clearance to leave Trinidad and Tobago and travel to St. Vincent to help monitor the volcano situation.
Since November 2020, unusual activity was reported at La Soufriere, but officials at the Seismic Research Center said that it was not at such an unusual rate to inform the public.
Local authorities at the Soufriere Monitoring Unit were also monitoring the situation.
The largest seismic activity was recorded on December 16, 2020, with a magnitude of 3.3.
Then, on December 27, 2020, a hotspot was identified at the La Soufriere crater by a NASA satellite.
Today, December 29, 2020, an effusive eruption occurred with emissions of magma and an explosion of black mass from a pre-existing lake.
Dr. Gonsalves said the effusive eruption may end up as an explosive eruption, so persons are to be on alert.
It is important for the scientists to be on the ground with their equipment to be able to provide the data needed to make the necessary decisions, he said.
The National Emergency Committee is meeting this evening to discuss their response strategy.