St. Vincent – On Friday, an explosive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent. This is the first time the volcano has erupted in over 40 years. The volcano last erupted on April 13, 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people.

The ash column could be seen for miles as experts say it reached more than 20,000 feet into the sky. The heavy ashfall limited some evacuations due to poor visibility.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said people have to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus if they are to be evacuated by the Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise Lines cruise ships, each company has provided 2 ships for the evacuations. Gonsalves also stated that islanders would have to have the vaccine in order to be granted temporary refuge status on another island. St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua have said they would accept evacuees.

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“Not everything is going to go perfect, but if we all cooperate … we will come through this stronger than ever” – Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves