“We’ve had 32 violent volcano eruptions since April 9th, 2021,” reported OM’s team leader in St Vincent, a Caribbean island off North America. Scientists believe the eruptions will continue for the rest of the year. Reconstruction cannot start until the volcano returns to dormancy. “This is not a sprint but a marathon - lives will be displaced for a long time.” OM is offering help through a small international and national team of trained disaster response partners.
St Vincent, home to 111,000 people, is dependent upon tourism and is affected hugely by the coronavirus pandemic. The recent volcanic devastation has reduced the normally green countryside to a 50 per cent wasteland. Ash initially covered everything in a ‘white-out’. Water was turned off, and power is only now gradually being restored.
Gabby, a local islander, lost her job due to the pandemic. Reluctant to evacuate the home she had worked hard for, she finally did so to save her own life, but has lost hope in the future.
The disaster response team care for people like Gabby and are working to support evacuees in 10 of the 89 government shelters, buying and distributing water, food packages, hygiene kits and mattresses. Essential clean-up equipment is urgently needed for ash removal in public places. The team is also recruiting volunteers to help implement Psychological First-Aid (PFA) with children and parents in the shelters.