This update is based on news reported from St Vincent and The Grenadines and Barbados up to 14 April 2021 (edited 16.04.2021).
A new crater and vent were observed by satellites on 12 April 2021. Both lava domes have been destroyed.
The North East of the island has been devastated; the agricultural area has been described by the Deputy Prime Minister of St Vincent & the Grenadines, Montgomery Daniel, as non-existent; trees and farms have been destroyed – only tree stumps are standing. He likens the damage to that caused by Hurricane Thomas. The crops lost include bananas, breadfruit, coconuts, mangos, soursop, plantains, arrowroot, dasheen and ginger and yams. The island’s economy is heavily dependent on the export of bananas and tourism.
Pyroclastic flows caused by ash columns collapse occurred on 13 April 2021, hitting the eastern side of the volcano. Areas at risk are Georgetown, Sandy Bay, Owia, Fancy and other settlements. Lahars have been reported by Sandy Bay.
Pyroclastic flows on 12 April were observed on the western and southern flanks of the volcano, reaching the sea at Morne Ronde, Larikai and Trois Lopues Bay.
Water supplies were contaminated by ashfall. The water supply has been restored to most of the island excluding the red zone (Owia, Sandy Bay, Fancy and Heritage), having cleaned ash out of the supply systems. Bottled water has been supplied from Barbados (although Barbados is suffering from ashfall as well). Several other nations have sent water. Water testing kits have been supplied by the World Health Organisation and Pan American Health Organisation.
Loss of power supplies were reported on 11 April 2021. No mention has been made of their status since. But it can be assumed that every effort would have been made to restore them.
Venezuela is providing humanitarian support. Guyana, Grenada and others have also sent supplies. Financial aid has been sent by other Caribbean islands, the UK (among others), the UN and the World Bank.
Barbados continues to get ashfall. The opening of schools has been delayed to allow for a cleaning up operation (ash got in via ventilators and windows). Ash has impacted water supplies in the north.
Explosions were occurring roughly 14 hours apart, with swarms of small long period earthquakes in between. It had been hoped that the explosive activity had waned for a while after a longer gap and that the continuing long period and hybrid earthquakes signified growth of a new lava dome, but another explosion occurred at 06:15 this morning (16.04.2021). SO2 levels indicate that fresh magma is arriving from a deeper source. The eruption is currently categorised as a VEI 4. It is expected to continue for some time, following the pattern of the 1902 eruption.
The United Nations have stated that this humanitarian crisis could go on for some time and that it may extend to other nearby islands.
For updates, please use the sources below.
The Armchair Volcanologist
© Copyright remains with the author; all rights reserved, 2021.
Sources and Updates
St Vincent and the Grenadines: News784 • St Vincent’s #1 News Source
Barbados: NationNews Barbados — nationnews.com