Ash and smoke rise when the volcano La Soufrière erupted in Kingstown on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent last Friday. (Reuters)
Another explosive volcano eruption broke out in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Monday, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
People on the Caribbean island have been urged to prepare for more clouds of ash after La Soufrière volcano first erupted on Friday.
More than 16,000 people had to evacuate their homes and the ash rain covered large parts of St. Vincent with a thick layer of dust.
On Monday, the volcano fired a “giant explosion” of ash and hot gas into the air, which experts dubbed a “giant explosion”.
The volcano sent a huge cloud of dust into the air over St. Vincent. (Reuters)
“It destroys everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies seismic research center, told the Associated Press.
“Anyone who did not pay attention to the evacuation has to get out immediately.”
There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.
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Richard Robertson, a geology professor at the seismic research center, told local NBC Radio on Monday that the volcano’s old and new dome had been destroyed and a new crater had formed.
He said that the pyroclastic flows – flows of solidified pieces of lava – destroyed everything in their path.
“Everything that was there, human, animal, everything … they are gone,” he said. “And it’s a terrible thing to say.”
In a tweet on Monday, the country’s National Emergency Management Organization (Nemo) wrote: “The volcano continues to erupt explosively and has now begun to generate pyroclastic density currents.
“Explosions and the associated ash fall of a similar or greater magnitude will likely continue to occur in the next few days.”
At the weekend there were minor explosions of the volcano, which led to power outages and impaired the water supply.
Nemo tweeted on Sunday: “Massive power failure after another explosive event at La Soufrière volcano.
“Lightning, thunder and rumbling. The majority of the country is without power and covered with ashes. “
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It also warned of the “possible destruction and devastation of communities” near the volcano.
Nemo compared the outbreak to a 1902 eruption, the worst in the country’s history, killing more than 1,000 people.
A thick ash cloud over St. Vincent after the eruption of La Soufrière volcano on Friday. (AFP via Getty Images)
Ash covered palm trees and a church on the Saturday following the eruption of La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (Reuters)
Ash covered streets on Saturday after La Soufrière volcano erupted after decades of inactivity. (Reuters)
Cruise ships have been prepared to take evacuees to nearby islands while more than 3,000 people are housed in government-run accommodation.
Antigua, Grenada and St. Lucia have all offered to take in evacuees. Many houses in St. Vincent have no electricity or water.
Ash and smoke rise when La Soufrière volcano erupts in Kingstown, St. Vincent on Friday. (Reuters)
Evacuees travel by bus as they leave a village after the eruption of La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent’s. (Reuters)
The ash has spread to neighboring Barbados, which is 120 miles east of St. Vincent. The people of Barbados were told to stay in their homes to avoid breathing in the ashes.
La Soufrière volcano has been inactive since 1979, but an eruption was ongoing just before 9 a.m. local time on Friday.
Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of the 32 islands that make up the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said people should stay calm and keep trying to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Observe: Ash covers the streets of St. Vincent amid eruptions