La Soufriere volcano, located in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VCT), has been active since 29 December, 2020. The volcanic activity started with effusive eruption, formation of a volcanic dome, as well as changes to crater lake and seismic events. The activity rapidly increased on 8 April 2021 at 3:00 am, local time.
On 8 April 2021 at 4:00 pm, the Prime Minister issued an order to evacuate the volcano red zone (over 20,000 individuals) due to an imminent explosive eruption. On 9 April, evacuations of the orange zone started as the volcano entered in a phase of active explosive eruptions.
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) of VCT has rapidly activated a network of 76 emergency shelters. However, due to community spread and asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 in the island, public health risk involved in gathering in a shelter is significant.
Rapid response operations have started with the prepositioning of 4 cruise ship to shelter affected individuals in the island, and the offer of Antigua, Grenada and St Lucia to accommodate about 2,600 evacuated individuals.
PAHO has mobilized essential medical and biosafety supplies and equipment from its reserve centre in Barbados to increase the surge capacity of the local health sector network. Support provided also includes emergency coordination, technical cooperation, and mobilization of experts in the areas of logistics and WASH.