On April 9, the Caribbean island of St Vincent was devastated when the volcano La Soufrière erupted.
Since December, it had been in an effusive stage of eruption, with lava steadily flowing out but this turned to an explosive eruption in April and continued two weeks on.
This caused a large amount of damage to property and livelihoods. It is estimated that at least a third of the country’s had been wiped out and that the island might lose as much as half its GDP this year, when the effects of the eruption are combined with the ongoing pandemic.
St Vincent became a ‘Natural Disaster Alert Zone’ as the volcano continued to erupt and spewed out huge amounts of debris and ash plumes, reaching approximately 32,000 ft.
The UK and USA started evacuating their citizens and nearby islands such as Saint Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbados all agreed to take in evacuees from the red and orange zones.
Meanwhile others took up refuge elsewhere on the island, with schools and churches being used as shelters.
Life on the island has been very hazardous, with up to eight inches of ash falling, settling across the
island and reaching as far as Barbados, which is 120 miles away.
The United Nations has stated that around 20,000 evacuees on the Caribbean island are currently in need of shelter and warned of a “crisis within the COVID crisis.”
The United Kingdom announced an initial funding package for immediate emergency and nearby countries have also provided emergency services and supplies.
In Peterborough an appeal was set up to collect vital supplies that could be sent to the island to aid the relief effort.
The team includes Tony Francis, Kenny Maconald, Julia Davidson, Maureen Nash, Janice
Merchant-Moore, Barbara Daly, Susan Debique and many others.
The team said: “The eruption has caused a huge amount of suffering for the island’s inhabitants. It’s hard to imagine suddenly losing everything you own or to inhale ash, sulfur dioxide gas and being afraid to sleep at night.
“While there is a continuous urgent need for all sorts of supplies, including water, toiletries, food,
tinned goods, dried goods, nappies, bedding, masks, milk etc. The team at the Millennium Centre here in Peterborough are very thankful for all the donations by the Peterborough Community, every little really helps.”
Donations are being collected at the Millenium Centre in Dickens Street and can be delivered on Monday to Saturday between 12pm and 8pm.
As well as this, local artist Tony Nero, who is originally from St Vincent, has been fundraising for the relief effort. He has been accepting donations as well as auctioning off his own artwork, including an original watercolour, several smaller prints and a mini canvas, alongside art donated by several other local artists such as Sue Shields and Andy Williams.
He said: “My personal reason for doing this is that I was born on the island and still have a lot of family and friends there. I feel so helpless being so far away and really want to help, so I feel this is the way I can make a difference. The funds will go directly to some of the shelters that are helping the local people and as many as possible.”
To donate to Tony’s fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/f/art-against-volcanic-eruption-svg.