Fri, 04/23/2021 – 5:33am
BY: KRYSTAL PENNY BOWEN
Yesterday at 11:08 am, La Soufrière erupted again hurling a large thick, grey plume of ash and gas eight kilometres into the air.
Earlier this week, leading geologist, Professor Richard Robertson had predicted a significant volcanic event in the coming days during a radio interview.
This event occurred four days after its last eruption. On Sunday, April 18 at 4:49 pm, the UWI Seismic Research Centre (SRC) recorded the ninth major eruption of La Soufrière.
According to UWI SRC, most of the material from yesterday’s eruption appeared to be going out towards the Caribbean Sea. The scientists indicated that the south and neighbouring islands will not be affected.
In the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) Bulletin number 74, at 6 pm on April 21, it was stated that small long period and hybrid earthquakes were being recorded with the rate of occurrence increasing gradually over the last 24 hours. Rockfalls and volcano-tectonic earthquakes were also recorded. It also warned that explosions with accompanying ashfall could occur with little to no warning.
Ministry of Agriculture to assist affected farmers
As the volcano continues to erupt, government officials are trying to assist those people who have been adversely affected by La Soufrière. This week, Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar visited the red zones and conducted interviews with local and international media. He and his team examined the crop and structural damage caused by the volcano.
In his comments, he not only noted that protocols were being put in place to facilitate farmers who wish to visit the red zones, but the government also planned to host a market for farmers. This market would allow farmers to sell their livestock located in the red zone.
Caesar explained that some farmers might not want to go back and forth between the safe zone and red zone to care for their animals.
Since this volcanic activity, the Vincentian agricultural sector has been devastated by the heavy ashfall, lahars, rockfalls, and pyroclastic flows.
Tour reveals damage to plantain, bananas
During his tour of the red zone, Minister Caesar said that based on some of the fields he has examined, farmers will have to “start from zero”.
He explained that St.Vincent does not have extra-regional export and all bananas and plantains are traded within the region – with Barbados, Trinidad, St.Kitts, and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda.
The Minister also pointed out that the recent crop damage to banana and plantain has significantly reduced the supply for local consumption and this will have to be increased over time.