Scientists warn of continued explosions as government yet to calculate volcano damageMonday, April 19, 2021
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) – Scientists monitoring the La Soufrière volcano here, say the pattern of seismic activity over the last few days is typical of the growth and destruction of lava dome, while the government says it has not yet begun to calculate the cost of the damage caused by the erupting volcano.
The Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UEI), said Sunday's late evening eruption “generated a period of high-level tremor” and that the resulting eruption plume rose to above sight kilometres drifting to the south and southwest of the island.
It said that the swarm of long-period and hybrid earthquakes continued at La Soufrière with no significant change in their rate of occurrence and that occasional small volcano-tectonic earthquakes were still being recorded.
“Measurements of sulphur dioxide (SO2) flux (mass) at La Soufriere volcano were again undertaken along the west coast,” the SRC said, adding that an average SO2 flux of 232 and 391 tons per day on April 17 and 18 respectively, was recorded.
“The volcano continues to erupt. Its pattern of seismic activity over the last few days is typical of the growth and destruction of lava domes. Explosions with accompanying ash fall, of similar or larger size, can occur with little or no warning impacting St Vincent and neighbouring islands,” the SRC said, warning “the volcano, which erupted more than a week ago, is at alert level red.
Meanwhile, the government has not begun to calculate the cost of the damage caused by the eruption of La Soufriere.
“What I can tell you about, in terms of the assets at risk, there are hundreds of millions of dollars of assets at risk in the red zone in the north east and the north west and in the orange zone because we have a lot of agriculture as we go higher up. Agriculture is shot through, completely,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told journalists during a tour of the northeast of St. Vincent.
“There is nothing there. Trees are being denuded — breadfruit, coconut, fruits trees, then other forms of fruits and vegetables are covered; yams, dasheen, tannias, root crops of one kind or another, those are covered over in ash,” he said.
Gonsalves said that further north, a lot of animals have died, “…and then houses, especially for the poor”, adding that he had been advised that there are two areas where the roads and one or two bridges have been badly affected.
“So some public infrastructure, private infrastructure, agriculture, animal husbandry, and then, of course, if people can't work for a long period of time, they have to provide a social safety net support. It's a high operation.”
Gonsalves said he had already spoken to Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar on the situation.
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