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Adventist Community Services Disaster Response Director Addresses St. Vincent Volcanic Eruption

Pixa Bay St Vincent volcano License Creative Commons

Image of the La Soufrière volcano from a distance; Photo Ernie A. Stephens/Pixabay*

The La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent began a series of explosive eruptions on April 9, 2021, sending clouds of hot ash some 20,000 feet into the air, blanketing much of the island in ash and causing water and electricity outages.

The volcano erupted again on Tuesday morning, April 13, shortly after dawn — the anniversary of another violent eruption of the same volcano in 1979. The latest eruption caused more ash to fall across the island and as far away as the island nation of Barbados, some 111 miles to the east.

Tuesday’s explosion was slightly smaller than the eruption on Monday, April 12, which sent deadly clouds of hot gas, ash and stone down the mountainsides, according to Richard Robertson, professor of geology at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre. The center estimated the heat of those fast-moving clouds at between 200-700 degrees Celsius (392-1,292 degrees Fahrenheit).

Approximately 20,000 people have been forced from their homes on St. Vincent.

I reached out to Mario Oliveira, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International Director of Emergency Management. He explained the status of response on the island. Adventist churches and schools have become shelters for approximately 600 evacuees. ADRA International is working through the local church with people on the ground. 

They have been in contact with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), the equivalent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the U.S., and identified the present need for food. This information has led ADRA to support hot meal delivery for the next four weeks in the first phase of their plan. They are continuing to have coordination meetings regularly and if a second phase is necessary, will determine how they move forward from this point.

[Read the news release from ADRA.]

In speaking with Oliveira, ADRA has identified the need for financial support to ensure the feeding program continues through the Inter-American Division, where the operation is located. Help is coming through the local churches and ADRA International is financially supporting local churches in this effort. This information has been shared with Adventist Community Services Disaster Response conference leadership to encourage those who may want to assist to find a tangible way to do so. ACS DR will stand ready to help if needed, and we encourage our members to pray for our brothers and sisters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the affected surrounding areas.

 

* Ernie A. Stephens