Donations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief efforts are continuing in support those affected by the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
There was a tearful show of gratitude by SVG Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves for the help of its Caricom neighbours on Friday, the day after the volcano erupted and after evacuation of the area around it had started.
In a release on Tuesday, the Caricom Private Sector Organisation (CPSO), together with the Caribbean Manufacturers’ Association (CMA), said it held a joint emergency meeting on April 10 to co-ordinate a response.
It said, “As we move assiduously to assist members of our Caribbean family, the regional private sector has already begun responding…and there are shipments already leaving member states for SVG.”
It said the private sector also intends to develop a master list which will allow it to track how each member state is responding to relief efforts to better co-ordinate their responses.
The statement said the private sector will collaborate with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
“We also recognise the challenges caused by the relocation of segments of the population, and we intend to be responsive to this through CDEMA.”
In a statement on Tuesday, the US Agency for International Development said it will donate US$100,000. It said this assistance follows the support it has already provided to the country’s National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) for evacuation efforts as well as humanitarian needs through the Red Cross.
The statement said, “Up to 19,000 people are being evacuated for an undetermined period and will require humanitarian assistance.”
It said USAID is working with the country’s Red Cross to provide immediate assistance to evacuees, including thousands of people in shelters.
“Disaster experts from USAID are on the ground in SVG, working in close coordination with local and regional disaster response authorities and organisations, including the local government’s NEMO, which is leading the evacuation operations.”
It said USAID-USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) will continue to support the UWI Seismic Research Centre to monitor the volcano. The centre has said in its daily updates that the eruption may continue for an unknown period.
“These teams have been collaborating closely since December, when there was an initial rise in La Soufriere’s activity.”
Aid from TT left on Monday for SVG on the Galleons Passage, which carried medical personnel and TT soldiers, who will stay to help for two weeks in the first instance.
The vessel also took medical supplies and food. National Security Minister Stuart Young, who toured the boat, also said, “We are trying to arrange marine vessels to take water. We have several water trucks on Galleons Passage, mattresses, foodstuff. We will be sending another vessel up with more relief items.”
The Venezuelan government also sent 20 tons of humanitarian aid to the country on Monday aboard a Venezuelan navy ship.
Telecommunications company bmobile has extended free calls to SVG until April 14.In a release on Monday, the company said it is helping customers to stay connected with loved ones on the island. Calls can be made from all bmobile prepaid and post-paid mobile numbers. Prepaid customers do not need credit to make calls.