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St Vincent suffers power and water cuts

Regional 16 Apr, 2021 Follow News

La Soufriere could be active for weeks

St Vincent’s La Soufrière eruption has caused severe water shortages as heavy ash contaminates supplies.

Around 20,000 people have been evacuated from the island’s northern region, where the exploding volcano is located, with more than 3,000 of them staying at more than 80 government shelters.

“We have to get stuff rolling into people,” St Vincent Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, said on the local station NBC Radio.

But no casualties have been reported since the first big blast from the volcano early on Friday. “We have to try and keep that record,” he said. Gonsalves said some people have refused to leave communities closest to the volcano and urged them to evacuate.

He estimated the country will need hundreds of millions of dollars to recover from the eruption, but did not give any details. He also asked for residents to give accommodation to those that have been displaced from their homes.

Falling ash and pyroclastic flows have destroyed crops and contaminated water reservoirs. Garth Saunders, minister of the island’s water and sewer authority, noted that some communities had not yet received water.

The eruption has caused power outages and water supplies cut off after another explosion on Sunday.

It was the 4,000-ft volcano's first major eruption since 1979. Residents in Barbados, nearly 200km (124 miles) to the east, have also been urged to stay indoors.

Scientists warn that eruptions could continue for days - or even weeks.

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