St. Vincent (MNN) — Some 16,000 residents living near La Soufriere were told to evacuate on Friday following the volcano’s first explosion. An unknown number refuses to depart, The Associated Press reports, leaving officials concerned for residents’ well-being.
“It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, told the AP following a massive blast.
“Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately.”
The ongoing volcanic activity puts essential supplies like food and water at risk. Falling ash contaminates water sources, while fast-moving lava flows wipe out citrus crops. Authorities met yesterday afternoon to discuss food difficulties, while Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says it could take months for the island nation to recover.
Pastor Al Blake of Harvest Bible Chapel in Arnos Vale, St. Vincent, discussed the disaster with Trans World Radio’s Bill Early. “Ash plumes up to eight kilometers were observed, and ashfall has been recorded as far down as the Argyle International Airport. That can go on for days, for weeks,” Blake says.
The St. Vincent volcano last erupted on April 13, 1979, and an explosion in 1902 killed some 1,600 people. Authorities have not reported any casualties from the latest eruption, but approximately 3,200 people stay in temporary shelters.
“The evacuation centers here on the island are mainly schools and churches,” Blake explains.
“Schools and churches don’t have beds; they don’t have all of the normal comforts of a domestic home.”
Ask the Lord to comfort believers in St. Vincent during this tumultuous time. Pray for wisdom for Pastor Blake and other leaders as they seek ways to help people in need.
“Psalm 46 shows us God is our refuge and strength; He’s a very present help in times of trouble,” Blake says.
“Even though the mountains quake, God is able to save and deliver.”
As people choose whether to stay in place or evacuate, pray God would give them wisdom and discernment.
“We are prayerfully trusting God on behalf of everyone in our nation. We are praying that our people would prioritize safety and be alert,” Blake says.
Header image depicts satellite imagery of the April 9 explosion. (Wikimedia Commons)