via Al Jazeera

April isn’t looking so bright for Saint Vincent’s population, one of the 32 small islands located in the Caribbean Sea. I mean, the country lies in Hurricane Alley, an area that forms many hurricanes. But this time, it wasn’t a hurricane that hit the islet. It was a volcano.

La Soufrière volcano, located on the surface of St. Vincent is the highest peak in the country. It has had five eruptions already, the most recent the one that has occurred in April 2021 and that is making the St. Vincent population quickly evacuate the island as we speak.

The last time La Soufrière erupted was in 1979. So people didn’t really have it coming. It was dormant for years. And in the past days, it sent two explosive plumes of ash and smoke. As of today, more than 20,000 people have fled the island.

 

The First Eruption

via Direct Relief

Friday morning La Soufrière volcano quickly moved into an explosive state. It has been showing signs of activity since last December. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) acted fast and warned civilians: “La Soufriere has moved into an explosive state. Plumes up to eight kilometers. Ash fall expected within five minutes”.

Clouds of ashes start falling and the smell of sulfur soon load the environment. Volcanic lightning can be seen in the sky. People are shocked as they are scared. Many videos are caught in Chateaubelair, a town on the foothills of the volcano, to share with the international community. But that wasn’t even close to what was coming.

 

The Second Eruption

via Maysa Dotson

Six hours later, the La Soufrière volcano erupts for the second time. The sky is darkened by the grayish-white ashes. People have no choice: they start lugging their belongings and taking them down the streets. Evacuation has started.

Fortunately, the second eruption has been declared weaker than the first one. “Second explosive eruption for the day at La Soufriere. Smaller than the first which occurred earlier this morning,” according to NEMO.

The good news is that there are no reports of injuries as no property has been damaged so far. The not-so-good news is that there are people who are not willing to evacuate and have stayed in their homes near the currently exploding volcano.

NEMO has announced possibly new eruptions that could continue for days, even weeks. Monitoring is ongoing as you read this article. Keep tuned.