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UN Emergency Fund allocates $1M for humanitarian response to La Soufrière volcanic eruption

15 Apr 2021


Plumes of ash billow from the La Soufrière volcano on the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which started erupting on 9 April 2021. Navin Pato Patterson via UN News

In response to the ongoing eruption of La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock today announced an allocation of $1 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to help provide urgent humanitarian assistance to affected people, especially those evacuated.

With the funds, UN agencies will provide drinking water and hygiene kits to evacuated people, as well as supplies to clean water sources and cash assistance to some of the most vulnerable and food-insecure people.

Up to 20,000 people have been evacuated from the “red zone” around the volcano, about 4,500 of whom are staying in shelters.

People living in close proximity to the volcano have been affected by heavy ash fall and pyroclastic flows, which have damaged crops and farming equipment and affected livestock-keeping. This is likely to worsen food insecurity and poverty, which were already on the rise because of the pandemic.

Most homes in Saint Vincent are without water, and most of the country’s 110,000 people were affected by ash fall.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, located in the southern Caribbean, consists of more than 30 islands and cays, nine of which are inhabited.   

At 4,000 ft tall, La Soufrière dominates the largest island, Saint Vincent. The volcano had been silent since 1979, but began spewing smoke and rumbling in December, before erupting this past Friday.