‘Huge’ explosion rocks St Vincent as volcano keeps erupting

KINGSTOWN, ST VINCENT (AP) — La Soufriere volcano fired an enormous amount of ash and hot gas early yesterday in the biggest explosive eruption yet since volcanic activity began on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent late last week, with officials worried about the lives of those who have refused to evacuate.

Experts called it a “huge explosion” that generated pyroclastic flows down the volcano’s south and southwest flanks.

“It’s destroying everything in its path,” director of the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center Erouscilla Joseph told The Associated Press. “Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately.”

There were no immediate reports of injuries or death, but government officials were scrambling to respond to the latest eruption, which was even bigger than the first eruption that occurred on Friday morning.

Roughly 16,000 people who live in communities close to the volcano had been evacuated under government orders on Thursday, but an unknown number have remained behind and refused to move.

Richard Robertson, with the seismic research centre, told local station NBC Radio that the volcano’s old and new dome have been destroyed and that a new crater has been created. He said that the pyroclastic flows would have razed everything in their way.