‘Explosions, ash fall from La Soufrière to continue over next few days,’ experts warn

The island of St Vincent is likely to see further volcanic eruptions and ash fall over the coming days, experts have warned.

The La Soufrière volcano first erupted on Friday, blanketing the island in a layer of ash and forcing more than 16,000 people to evacuate their homes.

Smaller explosions continued over the weekend, triggering widespread outages of electricity and water supplies.

Emergency officials have described the landscape as a “battle zone”.

“The volcano continues to erupt explosively with the production of copious amounts of ash,” the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center said.

“Explosions and accompanying ash fall, of similar or larger magnitude, are likely to continue to occur over the next few days impacting St Vincent and neighbouring islands,” it warned.

White-coloured dust has covered buildings and roads around the island, including in its capital Kingstown.

The warning to expect further activity at La Soufrière followed what officials described as an “explosive event” on Sunday.

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The volcano had been dormant since 1979, but in late 2020 it started spewing steam and smoke and making rumbling noises.

The first sign that an eruption was imminent came on Thursday evening, when a lava dome became visible on La Soufrière.

Just before 09:00 on Friday, seismologists from the University of the West Indies confirmed that an “explosive eruption” was under way.