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Posted: Wednesday 21 April, 2021 at 11:43 AM

Fund launched to assist SVG, others affected by Volcano eruption

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE United Nations and its partner agencies have launched a US$29 million global fund geared toward assisting St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as several other islands that are affected by the ongoing eruption of La Soufriere Volcano.
    The volcano, which started erupting earlier this month, has caused significant damage on the island of St. Vincent and has left dust and minor damage in Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada.
    Launched in Kingstown yesterday (Apr. 20), the fund is expected to provide support for the recovery process and to purchase supplies such as water, food and other items.
    UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebucq said launching of the fund reflects the commitment of his agency and partners to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the entire region.
    He stated that the total number of people evacuated from the affected areas represents approximately 15 percent of the population of the island, and many of them were living in poverty.
    It is against that backdrop he noted that it is the vast majority of people on the island that were affected by the eruption.
    There is growing concerns that approximately 15,000 to 20,000 people are at risk for food insecurity on the island.
    Approximately 6,200 persons are registered in shelters and a further 6,500 have been registered as displaced in private homes. 


    The Resident Coordinator noted that the health care system, which is currently dealing with the Coronavirus, is also under pressure.  
    “We are dealing with a crisis within the COVID crisis. We fear the risk of spike in COVID cases, especially with people in shelters….so the situation can deteriorate rapidly as well,” Trebucq lamented.
    In thanking the UN for its establishment of the fund, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves drew attention to the efforts the territory has made over the last several years prior to the eruption of the volcano.
    He told reporters via Zoom that the island faces a humanitarian and construction crisis going forward. 
    “Without effective cooperation between our country, the United Nations and regional-subregional organisations, our lives and our living would be wholly unbearable,” the PM noted. “Without an enhancement of this cooperation, the relief effort would be stymied, full recovery and reconstruction would be dismal.”
    The volcano erupted on April 9 and left mass destruction in its wake, displacing approximately 20,000 in what was described as the Red Zone of the island. Homes have collapsed under the weight of ash and rocks from the volcano, while the waterways and crops have significant levels of ash, making them unusable.


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