The Caribbean islands were spared the worst of last year’s hurricanes NEMO’s director in an interview with PRI says.
“We really were quite pleased that we did not have any cyclones that would have put persons in emergency shelters because we know that opens up the conduit for the spreading of the COVID-19 virus”.
But in a year of overlapping disasters, that changed for St. Vincent in early April, when the La Soufriere volcano erupted.
Forbes said nearly 20,000 people were displaced, and emergency shelters are still full.
Thick volcanic ash deposits mean even average rains can trigger dangerous landslides and flooding, which the National Emergency Management Organization has been warning against through videos posted on Facebook.
“That’s a different twist now to the hurricane season,” Forbes said. “It’s not just the regular flooding. So, these are the things now that we are working on communicating to the public.”
Forbes called the pandemic, volcano, and the upcoming hurricane season a triple whammy, one that has meant late nights in the office. She said she’s slept at home only five nights since April 8, the day before La Soufriere erupted.
“I made that decision that this week I’m going to return and sleep at my home every night, just for my sanity,” Forbes said.