Saint Lucia is initially preparing to receive 300 Vincentian evacuees after La Soufriere volcano erupted on Friday morning.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet made the disclosure Friday afternoon.
And Chastanet said he was proud that OECS nationals have been coming forward to accommodate the evacuees.
In addition, he noted that many Saint Lucians are also expressing an interest. Nevertheless, he invited other locals to do the same.
As a result, the PM announced the intention of authorities here to create a local room bank.
“So we are setting up a structure on Monday for any Saint Lucians that want to accommodate a Vincentian family,” Chastanet explained.
According to the PM, NEMO, the Command Centre and the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA) will be establishing criteria.
“So once your home meets that criteria, then you would qualify,” Chastanet indicated.
“We do have hotels that remain unaccommodated at this point. We are using those as a backup. We are hoping that we can work with the cruise lines to allow the ship to remain in port for a couple of days,” the PM told Friday’s news conference.
However, Chastanet said putting the evacuees in emergency shelters is not currently an option.
He explained that it’s because of the intention for schools to recommence on April 19 and the limited long-term capability of the buildings.
The Prime Minister also disclosed that arriving evacuees will get a COVID-19 test.
Once the test is negative, they can proceed to their accommodations, he indicated.
This would include the homes of friends and family here.
The PM said this country has to prepare for at least three months of accommodation in the first instance.
But he said the time period may be shorter or longer.
There will be no reduction in the established protocols for people who travel, Chastanet explained.
And Police Commissioner, Milton Desir said there will be security checks for Vincentians arriving by cruise ship.