In response to the recent eruption of La Soufrière in St. Vincent, the Network of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce (CARICHAM) has mobilized relief efforts via its membership, in support of the affected population in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
After showing signs of increased activity since December 2020, La Soufrière erupted on April 9th, 2021 and several ash falls have since paralyzed the country and displaced about twenty thousand Vincentians. Neighbouring islands have also been impacted, especially Barbados who has experienced heavy ash falls, causing severe disruptions to life and economic activity.
CARICHAM Member Chambers are collaborating with their local emergency management organizations to coordinate support efforts based on the list of priority items shared by St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). Additionally, CARICHAM members are working very closely with the St Vincent Chamber of Industry and Commerce, who have been coordinating relief efforts from CARICHAM members and providing vital information and advice about the situation on the ground and the needed relief items.
As indicated by NEMO, the country is experiencing a severe water shortage as a result of the contamination caused by the heavy ash fall. There is a critical need for potable water and other priority items required are beds, mattresses, pillows and cases, sheets, cots, water tanks, water drums, buckets, and canned foods.
Regionally, some Governments have agreed to accept Vincentian evacuees and are working closely with the local private sector to ensure that they are received and accommodated safely, given the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic.
Members of the CARICHAM Network re-affirm their support to the people of St. Vincent and stand ready to serve to the best of their ability.