Bridgetown, Barbados December 31st, 2020 (CDEMA) – The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is closely monitoring the ongoing situation at the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The volcano is exhibiting signs of increased volcanic activity and an effusive eruption has been confirmed at the site. The threat level for the volcano has therefore been elevated to Orange.
Based on consultations with the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU) activated the Regional Coordination Plan (RCP) at 6:00 p.m. on December 29, 2020. Through this action, the Volcano Response Plan and the Regional Logistics Plan were also activated. The Regional Coordination Centre (RCC) was activated at 9:30 a.m. on December 30, 2020 to provide logistic and coordination support to the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM). The following teams of the Regional Response Mechanism have been placed on ALERT and if activated, will be guided by the Deployment Protocols for operating within the current COVID-19 pandemic environment:
- CARICOM Disaster Assessment and Coordination (CDAC)
- CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST)
- Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT)
- Caribbean Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU)
Following discussions, the CDEMA Coordinating Unit will provide initial technical assistance to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Emergency Management Organization in Evacuation Planning and Logistics Planning.
In accordance with the Regional Coordination Plan, the CDEMA Coordinating Unit has also been providing updates to the partners of the Regional Response Mechanism. The Secretary General of CARICOM and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of CDEMA received a brief on the situation on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, and a meeting of the Caribbean Development Partners Group (CDPG) was convened on December 30th, also to brief them on the status of La Soufrière.
The CDEMA Coordinating Unit will continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with the UWI Seismic Research Centre, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines NEMO, and the national disaster management offices of Participating States in close proximity to the volcano and will provide updates to the RRM partners, as necessary.
The CDEMA CU urges all Participating States and members of the Regional Response Mechanism to monitor the progress of this volcanic event. The public should continue to monitor the releases from their local national disaster management office for updates on the situation as it develops.