‘La Soufriere volcano destroying everything in its path’: Huge explosion sends out more gas and ash

La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of St Vincent has erupted in another huge explosion on Monday, sending sulphuric gas and ash over a wide area and prompting concerns about the safety of residents who have not evacuated.

The volcanic eruption sent fast-moving hot gas and volcanic material down the south and southwest flanks of the volcano, which first erupted on Friday.

The government had ordered about 16,000 people who live in communities close to the volcano to evacuate on April 9, after the island was put on red alert due to a shift in volcanic activity at the crater of La Soufriere.

“It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, the director of the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center, told the Associated Press news agency.

“Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately,” Joseph said.

As yet, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries but drinking water supplies on the island have been polluted.

The United Nations said the entire population of the main island is without electricity or clean drinking water because of the eruption and the ash from the volcano.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said about 20,000 people were in need for shelter according to reports received from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“The eruption has affected most livelihoods in the northern part of the island, including banana farming, with ash and lava flows hampering the movement of people and goods,” Dujarric told a Monday briefing.

La Soufriere last erupted in 1979, while a previous eruption in 1902 killed about 1,600 people.

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IN PICTURES: La Soufriere volcano erupts in Saint Vincent