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U.N. Wants $29.2 Million To Help St. Vincent Citizens Displaced By Volcano

British, Canadian and U.S. nationals line up alongside the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Reflection to be evacuated free of charge, in Kingstown on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 16, 2021. La Soufriere volcano has shot out another explosive burst of gas and ash Friday morning as the cruise ship arrived to evacuate some of the foreigners who had been stuck on a St. Vincent island by a week of violent eruptions. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)

NEW YORK—- The United Nations launched an appeal on Tuesday for $29.2 million to help some 15,000 people displaced when the La Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted earlier this month.

“We are in a dire situation frankly … We’re not out of the woods,” St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told reporters, adding that scientists had warned eruptions could last another six months.

The volcano erupted on April 9 after decades of inactivity, spewing dark clouds of ash some 10 km (6 miles) into the air and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people. The volcano has continued to rumble and vent ash.

Didier Trebucq, the U.N. Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, visited the affected areas two days ago with Gonsalves and described the scene as “apocalyptic.” He said the U.N. appeal was to scale up assistance for six months.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which has a population of just over 100,000, has not experienced volcanic activity since 1979, when an eruption resulted in about $100 million in damages. An eruption by La Soufriere in 1902 killed more than 1,000 people. The name means “sulfur outlet” in French.


(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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