United Nations releases $1 million to Saint Vincent following devastating volcanic eruptions

The United Nations on Thursday released $1 million from its emergency fund to provide aid to the Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines following a series of devastating volcanic eruptions, the body’s spokesman said.

The funds will provide for “urgent humanitarian assistance to impacted people, especially those who have been evacuated,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

UN agencies will be able to distribute drinking water and hygiene kits, as well as money for the most vulnerable to buy food, he said.

About 20,000 people were evacuated from the vicinity of the La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent, which began erupting last Friday for the first time since 1979.

Some 4,500 people are in shelters and the country’s airspace is closed.

“Most homes in Saint Vincent are without water and most of the country’s 110,000 people have been impacted by ash fall,” Dujarric said.

Eruptions have continued to occur daily, with ash clouds covering the country and reaching surrounding islands.

The UN said Wednesday that depending on winds, the volcanic eruptions could cause environmental and economic impact to the neighbouring Carribbean islands of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

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