La Soufriere Volcano Alert Lowered to Orange

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The Government has moved the La Soufriere volcano alert from red, the highest, to orange.

The La Soufriere volcano’s first eruption took place on April 9. Ash piled up as high as 16 inches (42cm) high in some homes in the northern part of St Vincent.

Orange is the third-highest on the four-level scale. A red alert means that an eruption is in progress or may transpire without warning. An orange alert means a highly elevated level of seismicity, fumarolic activity or both. It also indicates that eruptions could occur within less than 24 hours’ notice.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made it clear that red zones across the island should still be

“If you are in Chateaubelair, particularly the lower part of Chateaubelair, and in Fitz Hughes, that we do not want you to go back; and, therefore, we would prevent you from going back there,” said Gonsalves, citing the ongoing clean-up of the ash as the reason.

Gonsalves confirmed that water and electricity services had been restored to as far as Richmond on the north-western coast. However, he made it clear that residents should steer clear of the island’s red zones.

“Not because it is in Richmond you must go there. Absolutely not. But Fitz Hughes and Chateaubelair are in the orange zone — if you look at the map — and the clean-up, we are just in the early stages. So that’s the story in relation to the alert and absolutely, you must not go into the red zone to go and live and do things like that.”

More than 6,200 evacuees were distributed between 88 government shelters and thousands of others in homes or private shelters.

Last month, the United Nations launched a $29.2 million campaign to help St. Vincent recover from the recent volcanic eruptions that ravaged the island.

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