St Vincent: One month after the eruption of La Soufrière volcano, uncertainty remains as continuous volcanic activity blocks people from returning home and hurricane season is approaching. The Red Cross has supported more than 2,000 people with water and emergency relief supplies since the initial outbreak on April 9.
“We are responding to an emergency in another emergency, as the eruption has a country already affected by a continuing dengue outbreak, and the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent heavy rainfall leading to landslides and floods leading to property damage and destruction makes the condition even more complicated. Responding to and recuperating from these overlapping crises is difficult and will take time,” said Harvey Farrell, Vice President of St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross (SVGRC).
As far as people are incapable of returning home, they will need ongoing assistance. In partnership with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), SVGRC works to help those not living in government shelters by delivering food, water, cleaning kits, essential household items, hygiene supplies and PBT. Volunteers provide messages to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19, even while living with many families under one roof. Over the subsequent 18 months, the Red Cross is working to support more than 5,000 people during this difficult time.
Volcano alert level changes from RED to ORANGE.
— NEMO SVG (@NEMOSVG) May 6, 2021
“It’s incredibly hard not to know when you can go home, especially not in a pandemic. Risk and fear persist as volcanic activity continues. Many Red Cross volunteers are affected themselves, whether they evacuate or house their friends and family from the evacuated zones. Despite this, they remain to support their societies,” said Daniel Arango, Disaster Management Coordinator of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the United States.
The theme of this year’s Red Cross World Red Cross Day is ‘unstoppable’, and the work of the SVGRC volunteers proves to be true. The power of the Red Cross is our community teams, combined with worldwide support. International teams on the groundwork not only with SVGRC but also with the Red Cross volunteers in Barbados, St Lucia and Grenada.
Recent rainstorms that have caused floods and landslides show the increasing vulnerability of people residing on the island of St Vincent and the Grenadines, as the hurricane season begins in 2021. This year, the Caribbean territory is expected to experience an above-average season, predicting 17 storms, with the name of which eight hurricanes could occur.