Sci-tech

Volcanic eruption possible within hours or days in St Vincent

Volcanic eruption possible within hours or days in St Vincent”

An explosive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano rocked the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent on Friday.

Shelters filled up overnight as people living in the northern part of the island sought safer ground under government orders, with a string of auto lights twinkling through the darkened mountains.

The island's emergency management office on Thursday ordered evacuations.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said evacuees would be able to seek temporary refuge on neighboring islands or be relocated to shelters in another part of St. Vincent.

He said two Royal Caribbean cruise ships and two Carnival Cruise Line ones are expected to arrive on Friday.

The call comes as St Vincent's La Soufriere volcano recorded two eruptions on Friday.

"It is very touching that there are families in Antigua and Grenada and St Lucia and Dominica who are calling in and saying that they will take people, if need be, into their homes".

Gonsalves said he was talking to other Caribbean governments to accept people's ID cards if they don't have a passport.

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All precautions will be taken to protect the health and safety of the crew and passengers who board our ships.

During a briefing earlier yesterday, Professor Robertson indicated that heightened activity at La Soufriere suggested that fresh magma was trying to get to the surface, and an explosion could occur within hours or days.

"I don't want you panicked", he instructed.

The eruption came a day after officials had raised the alert level following several small tremors detected at the volcano, with clouds of steam seen erupting from its peak. "That is the worst thing to do".

The volcano last erupted in 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people.

The prime minister said that his government has been in contact with friendly nations, including the United States, Cuba, and Venezuela to discuss possible assistance.

The region's most active volcano in recent years has been Soufriere Hills in Montserrat, which has erupted continuously since 1995, destroying the capital of Plymouth and killing at least 19 people in 1997.



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