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Volcanic alert level still on orange in Saint Vincent

Authorities have issued an orange alert for the area near the Soufriere Volcano in Saint Vincent. However, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said there’s no truth to reports that officials issued an evacuation order in his country. 

The orange alert means the volcano may erupt with less than 24 hours’ notice, and the reports of evacuation may have come against that backdrop.

 Reports on the internet state that peaking in an interview on Antigua television, the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister said that the reports are untrue.

  “Emphatically no – emphasise no, ‘N-O’, no order has been given for any evacuation in any part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,” he asserted.

  Gonsalves said he had seen “mistaken reports” to that effect in some London newspapers.

  “It is not true,” he told the Antigua Broadcasting Service.

 Experts have installed a webcam monitoring system to keep track of developments at the summit of La Soufrière. That’s according to the latest update from the country’s National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO). The update on Saturday also disclosed that officials have set up a Data Centre at Belmont.

 A team from The University of the West Indies’ (The UWI’s) Seismic Research Centre is spearheading the initiatives. They conducted an alternate site exploration in several areas to identify new sites where they can install equipment.

 The volcano alert level remained at orange as of Sunday night. According to NEMO, La Soufrière continues to exude magna on the surface. From the Belmont Observatory, persons can see steam from the volcano.

 NEMO said the North Windward disaster committees will sensitise people and update community evacuation plans, but reiterated that officials have issued no evacuation orders according to reports from Saint Lucia Times.

The next highest alert level is red, which means an eruption is in progress. 

A team of scientists from Trinidad and Tobago were flown in to the island today to provide support to those assessing the eruption. 

The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) in collaboration with National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) reported that visual observations on 29 December 2020 confirmed a new lava dome growth located on the edge of the old lava dome from 1979, forming a
The alert level for the volcano was raised to “orange”, as an increase of seismic activity at the volcano has been recorded since early November.
The warning bulletin states that pyroclastic flows could affect a land area including offshore and the hazard zones must be envisaged as extending some distance offshore.

 A yellow alert was also raised for the island of Martinique, an overseas French territory, on Tuesday due to seismic activity under the mountain. The most active volcano in recent years in the eastern Caribbean has been Soufriere Hills in Montserrat, which has erupted continuously since 1995, destroying the capital of Plymouth and killing at least 19 people in 1997.

Source: University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre volcano activity update 30 December 2020

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