Approximately 20,000 people have been evacuated, from the northern region of St. Vincent where the La Soufriere volcano continues to erupt, 4,000 of which are housed in 87 government shelters. A number of neighboring islands are offering support —St. Lucia, Dominica and Grenada are prepared to accommodate Vincentian evacuees. Another large explosion was reported on April 13, releasing significant amounts of ash and pyroclastic flows. Crops are being destroyed and much of the island’s fresh water supply has been contaminated.
Water and PPE are the most urgent needs on the island. The heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission in shelters is also a concern. Though the current COVID-19 positivity rate remains low (with 137 active cases on the island), vaccine uptake also remains low. Other health challenges include water contamination, increase in reported respiratory symptoms, treatment of burns, oxygen needs, cleaning of ash, and air quality monitoring. There are no reports of fatalities on the island.
Americares Emergency Team is assessing needs and evaluating the first requests for assistance. Americares has worked in the region for several years including partnerships in St. Lucia and extensive response and recovery work in Dominica after the devastation from Hurricane Maria.