- La Soufrière volcano had experienced an “explosive eruption”
- Mandatory evacuation of nearby residents ordered
- Ash column about 20,000 feet high heading east into the Atlantic Ocean
The La Soufrière volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted early today, hours after increased activity at the mountain set off a mandatory evacuation of nearby residents.
On Friday morning, St. Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organization, or NEMO, announced in a tweet that the volcano, known as La Soufrière, had experienced an “explosive eruption,” with the ash column about 20,000 feet high heading east into the Atlantic Ocean.
Heavy ashfall also was reported in communities around the volcano.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or injuries.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines have a population of 110,000. While most live on the main island, around the capital of Kingstown, the population is spread over three dozen islands.
Residents were being evacuated from the northeast and northwest of the island effective immediately, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced.
People would be boarded onto a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was heading to the island, NEMO said, adding that it was also coordinating removal efforts by land.
In a joint statement yesterday, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises said they were “sending ships to St. Vincent in the Caribbean to evacuate residents.”
The neighboring islands of St. Lucia and Grenada, as well as Barbados and Antigua have agreed to take refugees from St. Vincent.