Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
USAID is supporting response efforts after the La Soufriere volcano erupted on Saint Vincent island on April 9, 2021 resulting in widespread ashfall and evacuations. Photo credit: UWI-SRC
La Soufrière volcano on the island of Saint Vincent erupted repeatedly from April 9-22, forcing large-scale evacuations, covering the island with ash, polluting air and water sources, and damaging infrastructure and agricultural resources. More than 23,000 people - one fifth of the population - were forced to evacuate their homes, and some may be unable to return for months. In early May, heavy rains caused flooding across the island and triggered dangerous volcanic mudflows - lahars - in areas around the volcano. As of May 9, more than 4,000 people remained in more than 80 emergency shelters operated by SVG’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). On May 9, NEMO lowered the emergency alert level from “Red” to “Orange” allowing evacuees from areas furthest away from the volcano to return home to start the process of recovery.
On May 14, USAID announced an additional $3.8 million in emergency assistance to provide thousands of people with access to emergency food, safe drinking water, hygiene supplies, sanitary latrines, essential household items, and hygiene promotion activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases in shelters and communities. The assistance will also provide essential medical supplies and support for health facilities, logistics support to move, track, and distribute emergency items, protection programs for vulnerable populations, and livelihood efforts to encourage recovery. This is in addition to assistance already provided for this response, including in-kind supplies and support through existing partners and programs. Technical support for volcano monitoring through the USAID-U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Disaster Assistance Program was increased early in 2021, helping provide local authorities with early warning to mobilize evacuations the day before the volcano erupted.