Caribbean island St. Vincent evacuated after volcano alert

Fears of an imminent volcanic eruption led to mandatory evacuations on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent on Thursday.

Cruise lines were expected to arrive at the island on Thursday night to bring people who live near the La Soufriere volcano to safety, emergency officials on the island said.

It’s not clear how many people will be evacuated, or where they will be taken.

La Soufriere lies on the northern side of St. Vincent, and could be seen glowing by Thursday night, following days of seismic activity in the region.

The coronavirus pandemic could complicate the evacuation, as displaced residents will have to be vaccinated to board the ships, according to Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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Gonsalves said he was asking other island nations to welcome refugees, even if they don’t have a passport.

“This is an emergency situation, and everybody understands that,” he said.

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More than 100,000 people live in the country, which includes 32 islands — most of them uninhabited.

La Soufriere last erupted in 1979. An eruption in 1902 killed approximately 1,600 people.

With AP wires

The La Soufriere volcano on St. Vincent.
The La Soufriere volcano on St. Vincent.
Photo by Jean-Marc LECERF/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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