A highly emotional, even tearful St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gozalves today thanked his Caribbean neighbours for the outpouring of support as explosive eruptions commenced at the La Soufriere Volcano.
At a media briefing he disclosed that thousands of residents from the red zone have already been evacuated using boats, cars, private minibuses and whatever forms of transportation were available, while about two thousand people were in shelters and two cruise ships had arrived and were on standby.
Dr. Gonzalves yet again appealed to his countrymen not to panic urging an orderly and disciplined response.
He said he had been in contact with the leaders of several Caribbean nations and preparations were being made in case some had to take in some of the evacuees, though unlike yesterday he did not specifically mention Barbados among those countries.
He also stressed that it was a requirement that any evacuees from the country first be vaccinated.
He said that the volcano crisis could persist for up to four months and thanked the residents of various nations who had offered help.
Meantime, Professor Richard Robertson, of the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, who heads the team monitoring the volcano, pointed out that bigger explosions are possible and that the eruption could go on for weeks.
Residents in St. Vincent from as far south as Kingstown have already begun to experience ash fall and heavy clouds from the erupting La Soufriere volcano.
Lennox Lampkin, a farmer in Kingstown, located 13 miles north of the volcano, made a live post to his Facebook page to show how the ash plume was affecting his area.
One of the wardens at a school being used as an evacuation centre spoke with Starcom Network News.