Photos: Nicholas Stephens
- Eruption Of St Vincent’s La Soufriere Volcano Has Devastated The Island’s Livestock.
- In The Red Zone, Animal carcasses Everywhere.
- Hundreds Of Animals On The Brink Of Collapse
(By Ernesto Cooke) Livestock left to roam freely is now without forage as the ash and dust have totally destroyed their pastures in the Red Zone.
The eruption of the Islands lone active volcano La Soufriere went explosive on April 9th, leaving not only residents displaced but animals at the mercy of nature’s fury.
St Vincent’s Ministry of Agriculture is bringing water and feed to the animals in the red zone daily that have survived the disaster.
Molasses is being sourced to supplement the feeding of these animals.
Many of the unattended livestock, particularly sheep, which graze forage all the way to the ground, are feeding on ash-covered material, which will cause future health problems even if the effects are not immediately visible, the regional body said.
CARDI, the Caribbean Agriculture Research And Development Institute, supports blueprints for the construction of emergency pens for evacuation, transport and temporary housing for the animals.
The Institute has also been canvassing its member states for possible sources of planting material.
CARDI’s field station is located in Rabacca (red zone). Before the first explosive Eruption on April 9th 2021, the Institute moved collections of germplasm for banana and plantain, sweet potato, cassava and dasheen to a safer location in the Green Zone.
During this period, the Ministry of Agriculture in St Vincent has ramped up the production of tissue culture material for several important crops.
As part of the post-disaster recovery efforts, these will be supplied to farmers to restart production.
CARDI says it stands ready to support the rebuilding efforts of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ agriculture sector.
Preliminary assessments reveal that in the Red Zone, 100% of vegetable crops and 60% of the arrowroot have been lost.
The weight of the heavy ashfall has caused the leaves and branches of many tree crops to snap.
The island remains on Red Alert.