A NAN FIRST
News Americas, KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Fri. April 30, 2021: Our News Americas News Network and Newsamericasnow.com are on the ground in St. Vincent covering the devastated lives and impact of the explosive eruptions of the ‘La Soufrière’ volcano. Here is a behind the scenes look at what’s happening on the ground in Kingstown in the green zone; in orange zone areas of Chateaubelair, a large fishing village on the Leeward (west) coast of the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent; and in Buccament Bay, where many have been forced to evacuate to a high school turned shelter there. Almost all at the shelter are farmers and they have lost their livelihoods completely and not sure what to do next.
Some of the concerted cries we heard: “how much more can be take?” Many are paying USD 16 (EC 4) daily to take a boat from the shelter back to their property to check in, clean up and ensure it is protected against robbers. Here are some of our up close views of the devastated lives and communities shots from our trip to the area on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Stay tuned for more from inside the devastation.
Executives of global private sector investment agency Invest Caribbean (ICN), based in New York and South Florida, and The Ritzury Group, the global project services agency of the Caribbean, based in Barbados, are on the ground conducting a needs acescent to determine how it can help residents truly impacted by the disaster. ICN Founder Felicia J. Persaud, and The Ritzury Group’s Danielle Corbin, distraught over the explosive volcanic eruption of the La Soufrière volcano on April 9th, immediately dropped everything and got to work hours after, launching a global fundraising and donations campaign to deliver aid and support to the most vulnerable on the island. The fundraiser is just shy of its half way goal to date and aid from the group loaded from Barbados this week for SVG.
Both Ritzury Group and ICN are Black, women-led enterprises. ICN’s main focus is matching developers, businesses and governments with the best possible funding options available globally, in the form of debt or equity. Luxury professional services entity Ritzury Group is dedicated to helping regional, local and International companies from many industries make the Caribbean their international business hub.
“The eruption of La Soufrière in St. Vincent and The Grenadines sent a shock wave throughout the Caribbean. With between 16,000 – 20,000 persons displaced from their homes, we are bringing all hands-on deck to assist as much as possible,” said Ritzury Group Executive Chairman, Danielle Corbin, who is leading the on the ground donation effort from Barbados. “What we’re helping prevent is the collapse of an economy, as this disaster plus the current COVID pandemic could set this nation’s progress back 40 years. Our main priority is alleviating the pressure by involving the international community as much as possible to create ways in which we can bring immediate relief in the short term and rebuild the economy in the long term. The Ritzury Group and Invest Caribbean are working relentlessly to see this through, and we have put our business on hold to give our all to this cause. We will be engaging the international community – especially corporations who have the capabilities to assist monetarily and with emergency items – we’re all rallying together to come out the other side of this tragedy better than before.”
Invest Caribbean CEO,Felicia J. Persaud,added, “A modern-day Pompeii is occurring right now in our US backyard in the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, so of course Invest Caribbean has dropped everything to rush to help the people of this amazing island. While there’s not been loss of life, many thousands have been devastated and displaced. The eruptions have left the entire northern third of the island completely desolate, decimating houses, agriculture and livestock, and fouling the water,” she added. “We are so proud to have a partner in The Ritzury Group that also shares our heart to help others, and we will be getting critical supplies on the ground this week and into the hands of people who need them the most. We also invite everyone to partner with us by supporting the Saint Vincent Volcano Disaster Relief on GoFundMe to help us be a blessing, not just for the short term, but for the medium and long-term, as we build back better.”
After decades of inactivity and rumblings beginning in December 2020, La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines erupted explosively on April 9th. The most recent NEMO (the local disaster agency) bulletin states: “The volcano continues to erupt. Its pattern of seismic activity over the last few days is typical of the growth and destruction of lava domes. Explosions with accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger magnitude, can occur with little or no warning.”
The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is also labouring under the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a recent outbreak of dengue fever. The UN has launched a $29 million fundraising campaign to help the government cope as ICN and Ritzury focus on meeting the direct needs of the people displaced and devastated.
The Saint Vincent Volcano Disaster Relief GoFundMe is raising immediate funds to satisfy urgent needs, while medium term, the two agencies plan to use ongoing donations to focus on bigger issues like housing, relocation, clean-up efforts, and humanitarian aid. Long-term relief will take the form of financial aid for affected persons who have fled to neighbouring countries, financial aid for families still in SVG, care of elderly, care of students and access to continuing education.