“Lightning, thunder and rumbling” reported as evacuations continue on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
A new “explosive event” was reported on a volcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines which erupted on Friday, shaking the ground and covering the island with a layer of thin volcanic rock.
After decades of inactivity, the volcano erupted spitting dark clouds of ash about 10 km (6 miles) into the air and causing some residents living nearby to evacuate.
The Saturday, rash with rumblings emanating from La Soufrière continued as Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves ordered the evacuation of residents close to the activity.
The country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) noted “another explosive event” early Sunday morning with the “majority of the country out of power and covered in ashes.”
“Lightning, thunder and rumblings. The majority of the country is without electricity and covered in ash, ”he added.
Visibility in parts of the island was extremely limited on Saturday, while in the capital Kingstown in the south of the island – the volcano is to the north – the ash caused a fine haze of dust, according to reports.
About 16,000 people lived in areas under evacuation orders on Saturday, and 3,000 people spent the night in shelters that placed limits on the number of evacuees they accommodate due to COVID-19 protocols.
The ashes forced the cancellation of several flights and poor visibility limited evacuations in some areas.
Officials have warned that Saint Lucia to the north and Grenada to the south could receive slight ashfall, although most of it is heading northeast into the Atlantic Ocean.
Thick dust was also on the move, traveling 175 km (110 miles) east and starting to affect the neighboring island of Barbados.
“Barbadians have been urged to stay indoors as thick plumes of volcanic ash move through the atmosphere,” the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency said.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with a population of over 100,000, has not seen volcanic activity since 1979, when an eruption caused damage estimated at around $ 100 million.
An eruption of La Soufrière in 1902 killed more than 1,000 people. The name means “sulfur outlet” in French.