The La Soufrière volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent has erupted, just hours after increased activity at the mountain was reported, setting off a mandatory evacuation of nearby residents.
Yesterday, emergency management officials raised the alert level to Red and announced that a vessel had been dispatched to the Leeward side of the island to evacuate residents. An estimated 16,000 residents live in the red zone and will have to be evacuated.
An explosive eruption began at 8:41 am this morning and is still ongoing. The National Emergency Management Organisation, NEMO, is reporting that the ash plume has reached 20,000ft.
La Soufrière, which means ‘sulfur outlet’, has not erupted since 1979, which lasted for weeks.