Almost four decades after La Soufriere Volcano last erupted, disaster responders in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are reminding residents that the volcano is still active and “will erupt again”.
“Although La Soufriere has been quiet for some time, it is still an active volcano and will erupt again,” the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said in a press statement on Friday.
“Citizens should know where they live in relation to the volcano and in which hazard zone they are located,” NEMO advised.
La Soufriere last erupted 38 years ago, in 1979.
“The 1979 eruption demonstrated that the volcano can move from unrest to full-scale eruption within 48 hours, a reminder of the importance of having a family emergency plan so that families can evacuate at short notice,” NEMO said.
NEMO will be joined by the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of The University of the West Indies, the Soufriere Monitoring Unit (SMU) and the Forestry Division to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the last eruption and to raise awareness of the risk and science associated with an active volcano.
This year, NEMO will be targeting primary and secondary school students in Kingstown, Clare Valley and Colonaire and a community meeting will also be held in Rose Place on Wednesday, April 26.
On April 28, there will be an Educational Field Trip to La Soufriere, under the guidance of Geologist Richard Robertson, director of the Seismic Research Centre. The educational field trip is opened to the public and persons wishing to take part can register with NEMO by telephoning 1-784-456-2975.
The UWI Seismic Research Centre is responsible for monitoring earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean.
Scientists at the UWI-SRC are constantly monitoring La Soufriere and any changes in activity are immediately communicated to NEMO and SMU.
“Tampering with volcano monitoring equipment such as solar panels, may prevent scientists from issuing timely warnings, thereby putting the population at risk,” NEMO said.