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Long road to recovery for St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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Long road to recovery for St. Vincent and the Grenadines two months on from volcano eruption

Many Vincentians who live in the Orange zone have returned, to begin the long process of conducting repairs to their homes.

Two months after the volcano eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) the road to recovery will be long, according to experts.

The La Soufriere volcano began erupting on April 9 and left 20,000 people displaced. The explosions covered the island in volcanic ash and ravaged the once lush and green Caribbean island.

According to latest updates from Scientists at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre – which monitors volcanoes and earthquakes in the Eastern Caribbean – St. Vincent remains on high alert despite the threat-level being downgraded from red to orange.

In a statement, Volcano-seismologist and current Scientific Team Leader, Roderick Stewart, said: “At alert level orange the volcano may resume explosions with less than twenty-four hours notice.”

Many Vincentians who live in the Orange zone have returned, to begin the long process of conducting repairs to their homes.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross Society is advising those returning to their homes to wear a mask, eye protection and long-sleeved clothes to protect themselves from ash particles – which can irritate lungs and skin.

Dora James, the acting Director General at the Red Cross in SVG, told the The Voice, things were moving in the right direction, she said: “We have a long road ahead of us, but we are resilient and strong and will get through this.”

Mrs James is an evacuee herself and is from the town of Chateaubelair on the north west coast and describes the current atmosphere “as a little bit settled.”

She said: “This is not going to be a sprint it is going to be a marathon. We are going to take time in getting back to where we were.”

“This is not going to be a sprint it is going to be a marathon. We are going to take time in getting back to where we were.”

She explained, some citizens have returned home to the orange and yellow zones. But those in the red zone are currently waiting for the mandate from the Vincentian government to allow them to return to the north of the island – where La Soufriere is located.

She told The Voice, the government are working on cleaning up main roads and side roads to help get the country moving again. When asked about the fundraising which has been happening in the UK, Mrs James expressed she was “eternally grateful to anyone who donated.”

Support is vital

“The Caribbean is one people and I was so proud to see the regional support and the support we had internationally,” she said. Despite all the donations, Mrs James said help is still needed and asked people to continue to support in the aftermath of the eruption.

She said: “Food continues to be a necessity, but many people are cleaning and repairing their homes now, so cleaning supplies would be extremely useful now.

“Things like wheel barrows and shovels would be great. The Red Cross will continue to provide items too and we are responding to the requests of the public.” She reiterated the resilience of Vincentians and said “we will get there.”

For businesses operating in SVG they are aware of the long road ahead, but continue to put their customers first at this difficult time.

Katherine Joseph, is the Operations Manager at KOSCAB SVG LTD, who are the official distributor of all Coca Cola products in SVG.   Speaking from St. Vincent, Ms Joseph said: “We mobilised immediately and donated water and was giving assistance through the Red Cross and some church groups.

“Human beings are our greatest asset and we have to do our corporate duty and help in difficult times. The water supply was shut off during the eruption and our company jumped into action and donated water. We donated over 3000 cases of water and that is in one instance.”

Written by: iLive UK

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