Volcanic Eruption In St. Vincent Forces Thousands To Evacuate

Residents of the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent are traveling to safety after the nation endured an "explosive" volcanic eruption this week. After hours of increased volcanic activity, news of the eruption was shared via Twitter on April 9.

"Please leave the red zone immediately. La Soufriere has erupted. Ash fall recorded as far as Argyle International Airport," the St. Vincent's National Emergency Management Organization tweeted.

"Ash plumes of up to 8 km [5 miles] were observed. Ash fall has been recorded at the Argyle International Airport," the organization added through its Facebook page.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a Caribbean nation of 110,000 people spread throughout three islands. While most people live on the main island, communities are spread throughout three dozen islands. In preparation for the eruption, government officials began evacuating people on nearby islands on Thursday.

"I have issued an evacuation order to all residents living in the red zones on the North East and the North West of the island. All residents are asked to act accordingly with immediate effect to ensure their safety and that of their families," St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves wrote.

Following the evacuation order, crowds of people were spotted carrying their belongings out of the area as cars moved through traffic toward safer land. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises also sent ships down to evacuate people from the island.

"Both cruise lines are working closely with St. Vincent authorities to assist residents most at risk. Royal Caribbean International's Serenade of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Reflection are on their way to the island nation and are expected to arrive later this evening to assist with evacuation efforts," Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises stated.

Ultimately, more than 10,000 people needed to be relocated and taken to safety. At this time, there is no word as to how much damage the eruption cause or if there were any casualties.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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