Dramatic footage taken from the scene of La Soufriere volcano shows the south Caribbean island blanketed in a thick layer of ash. The volcano first erupted on Friday forcing some 16,000 people to evacuate their homes. The incredible video shared by BBC World shows a thick column of ash and smoke rising into the sky above the tropical island which is home to some 130,000 people.
Evacuation orders and a red alert was issued on Thursday after an increase in earthquake activity before an explosive eruption at about 1.41 pm BST the following day.
The video recorded by an inhabitant caught up in the aftermath of the eruptions shows a road at night completely covered over amidst a blizzard of falling ash.
Elsewhere another clip captures a huge column of hot smoke and ash billowing out of the top of La Soufrière.
A woman can be heard commenting: “It growing even more.”
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She added: “So we gonna get way more ash.”
Volcanic ash was seen falling on the volcano’s flanks, covering communities at Chateaubelair and Petite Bordel.
St Vincent is the largest island in the country of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
People living near the volcano were ordered to flee, with cruise ships ferrying evacuees to nearby islands.
Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said water supplies to most of the island had been cut off and its airspace closed because of the smoke and thick plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere.
Mr Gonsalves said thousands of residents had been sleeping in emergency shelters since Friday. “It’s a huge operation that is facing us,” he told NBC News.
He said earlier that a lot of volcanic ash had fallen over the sea. “We don’t know how much more is going to come out… so far, we have done well in that nobody got injured, nobody is dead.”
On Sunday, St Vincent’s emergency management organisation Nemo warned islanders: Be careful all. We are covered in ash and strong sulphur scents pervade the air. We ask that you take the necessary precautions to remain safe and healthy.”
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The nearby islands of St Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbados have all extended a helping hand and have offered to take on the evacuees.
La Soufriere is an active volcano on the island of St Vincent in the Caribbean Windward Islands.
The stratovolcano’s summit marks the highest point on the island at more than 4,000ft (1,234m).
The volcano last erupted in 1979, although its deadliest blast occurred in 1902.