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St Vincent: Ash rains down on Caribbean island

Science desk || shiningbd

Published: 10:14, 11 April 2021  
St Vincent: Ash rains down on Caribbean island

The Caribbean island of St Vincent has been blanketed in a layer of ash, bringing major disruption after a volcano erupted on Friday.

White-coloured dust has covered buildings and roads around the island, including in its capital Kingstown.

The La Soufrière volcano was still rumbling and emitting ash thousands of metres into the air on Saturday. The prime minister has called for calm.

The volcano was dormant for decades but started to become active in December.

Thousands of people have been forced out of their homes and the water supply to most of the island has been cut off.

About 3,000 people spent Friday night in emergency shelters, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said, and some 16,000 were evacuated from ash-covered or vulnerable areas.

Gonsalves said it was unclear how much more ash the volcano would release. Some scientists have warned that eruptions could continue for days or even weeks.

People across the island, which has a population of around 110,000, woke on Saturday to find their homes covered in the white-coloured volcanic dust.

One witness in the town of Rabaka told Reuters news agency the ground was covered with about 12 inches (30cm) of ash and rock fragments.

It prompted warnings from officials to stay indoors, while emergency groups advised caution for those suffering with respiratory problems.

"Be careful all. We are covered in ash and strong sulphur scents pervade the air. We ask that you take the necessary precautions to remain safe and healthy," the island's main emergency management group said.

Some evacuation procedures were hindered by the heavy ash fall, which hindered visibility.