TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Jan. 28, CMC – The government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) says that it is prepared to offer assistance to St Vincent and the Grenadines as officials continue to monitor the activity at the La Soufriere Volcano.
The volcano is being monitored by regional and international authorities, even as a report from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency said the volcano continues to exude magma and steam and residents were warned to brace for strong sulphuric smells.
According to Deputy Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley, though St Vincent and the Grenadines hasn’t called on the territory for assistance, both countries have a strong relationship .
“We have many residents and belongers who originated from that nation. We have a strong spirit of cooperation that will only grow as time passes,” Wheatley indicated.
“St Vincent and the Grenadines has not indicated that they need assistance in this area, but I am sure Prime Minister [Ralph] Gonsalves will reach out to Premier Fahie or this will be discussed in CARICOM, and the BVI stands ready to engage once any request has been made.”
Wheatley did not state whether the territory would be willing to temporarily house residents of St Vincent if evacuation orders are issued.
So far, St Lucia has given the assurance that it would be willing to take residents if the volcano forces them to leave their homes.
The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (SRC) in Trinidad and Tobago, has advised that, based on the complex patterns of previous eruptions, it is too early to conclude that the current activity will remain as it is.
“There is still a possibility of a shift to an explosive phase. A definitive prognosis on the current unrest episode cannot be provided until further data analysis is completed,” the UWI SRC said.
According to Premier Andrew Fahie, there are more than 2,000 Vincentian nationals presently residing here.
La Soufriere last erupted in 1979.