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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. April 7, 2021: Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has issued a disaster alert as a noted scientist said the country’s La Soufriere volcano could erupt in hours or at latest, days.

Professor Richard Robertson, the lead scientist monitoring the volcano, said this afternoon that the heightened volcanic-tectonic (VT) earthquakes today suggests that fresh magma was trying to get to the surface.

The prime minister at an emergency news conference said that no evacuation order has been given but persons are wanted to be prepared to evacuate at short notice.

Since about 3 a.m. today, there were a number of tremors lasting from 3-3:40 a.m., 5-6:20 a.m., 8-9 a.m. and then again about 10:15 a.m.

Another band of tremors began around 2 p.m. EST, as Robertson was speaking during the press conference. He also said the monitoring team noticed elevated and continuous emission of gas this morning, another sign that fresh magma is at or close to the surface.

Roberston said that the possibility of the volcano exploding has increased significantly and could occur in the next few hours or days.

Robertson said that his recommendation to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) is that preparations be finalized within a few hours because scientists are unsure about the time scale of an explosive eruption.

Michelle Forbes, director of NEMO, said that her team had been in discussions, at Cabinet, with various agencies to heighten preparation in the event that an evacuation order is given.

She said that disaster managers are preparing sheltersand urged residents of communities north of Rabacca Dry River to be ready in the event that an evacuation order is given.

The prime minister said that his government has been in contact with friendly nations, including the United States, Cuba, and Venezuela to discuss possible assistance.

He said that Barbados and St. Lucia are willing to receive evacuees, but they will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Further, Royal Caribbean has indicated that it could get to St. Vincent with a cruise ship that can house 1,500 persons, who will also have to be vaccinated before they are allowed to occupy the vessel.

Next Monday’s scheduled reopening of school has been suspended until further notice.

La Soufriere last erupted explosively on April 13, 1979.

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