North Leeward Prepares As La Soufriere Alert Level Raised To Orange

Residents of North Leeward are on the alert and taking the necessary precautions following recent seismic activity at La Soufriere, the island’s active volcano.

On Wednesday, first-responders and community leaders met to discuss arrangements for possible evacuation for the area after reports of an effusive eruption in the crater of La Soufriere.

The meeting, spearheaded by parliamentary representative and Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Sustainable Development and Culture, Hon. Carlos James, brought together health service personnel, the police, staff of BRAGSA and the St. Vincent Electricity Services (Vinlec), Red Cross, church leaders and community activists across the North Leeward constituency to discuss the country’s national volcano emergency plan and the constituency’s preparedness in the likelihood of a mass evacuation.

According to James the national volcano emergency plan provides an organisational framework as well as technical and scientific information, upon which actions to be taken during a volcanic emergency can be based.

Minister James urged residents to remain alert and to closely monitor the information provided by the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO).

The parliamentary representative further appealed to persons to desist from visiting the volcano or mountains close to the volcano until the officials have given the green light to do so.

“I know there are persons who remain in the hills for whatever reason, I am urging you to consider your safety at this point until the scientists are able to give us clearance to traverse these hills,” James cautioned.

The parliamentary representative noted that North Leeward remains in a hazard prone area and in the likelihood of major seismic activity could see the entire constituency becoming threatened by pyroclastic flows and surges or a lateral blast from an explosive eruption.

“I want persons to remain calm and vigilant, while preparing for the possibility of a mass evacuation,” James said.

The meeting, which is the first in a series of consultations to be held in the constituency, saw first-responders and essential service workers providing an outline of their course of action and preparedness in the event of a mass evacuation.

Meanwhile, monitoring of the La Soufriere volcano continues with aerial surveillance from the Soufriere Monitoring Unit.  A three-member team from the University of the West Indies-based seismic unit arrived in the State on Thursday to provide scientific support and monitoring of the ongoing eruption at La Soufriere.

The Volcano continues to execude magma on the surface and steam can still be observed coming from the crater.  While there are no significant changes over the last 24hrs, materials and magma continue to ooze to the surface within the crater of the volcano, the dome building continues as the dome can be seen slightly larger than previous aerial footage a few days ago.

The alert level remains at Orange, which means there is highly elevated seismicity or fumarolic activity, or both, or other highly unusual symptoms. Eruptions may occur with less than 24 hours notice.

 

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