Hexbyte Glen Cove Thousands flee as volcano erupts on Caribbean island of St Vincent thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Thousands flee as volcano erupts on Caribbean island of St Vincent

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The 4,049-foot La Soufriere, pictured in January 2021, had not erupted in more than 40 years

A volcano that has been dormant for decades erupted Friday on Saint Vincent, darkening skies over the Caribbean island and forcing thousands of panicked locals to flee to safety.

The blast from La Soufriere, the highest peak in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, sent plumes of hot ash and smoke 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) into the air, the local emergency management agency said.

Video posted on the website news784.com showed a tower of ash being belched out and expanding into a ball shape as it rose upwards. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

“Please leave the red zone immediately. La Soufriere has erupted. Ash fall recorded as far as Argyle International Airport,” the National Emergency Management Organization said. The airport and volcano are at opposite ends of the 18-mile long island.

The 4,049-foot La Soufriere—French for “sulphur mine”—had not erupted since 1979 and its largest blow-up happened over a century ago, killing more than 1,000 people in 1902.

It had been rumbling for months before it finally blew.

It is now likely to keep erupting for days or weeks, scientists at the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago, tweeted.

“Once there is one explosive eruption it is likely others can occur,” the university’s seismological research center said.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves started issuing evacuation orders late Thursday for residents in so-called red zones, home to some 16,000 people on the biggest island in the archipelago. The total population of the chain is about 100,000.

“Persons living in the ‘Red Zones’ are strongly advised to pack a quantity of personal items, secure your homes and animals; and be ready to be evacuated immediately,” police said in a statement after the eruption.

Zen Punnett, who lives on the island, said people panicked Thursday night as the evacuation orders came out but things were calmer Friday.

Map locating Saint Vincent’s La Soufriere volcano, which erupted April 9

“I can feel and hear rumbling here in the green safe zone. We can see a huge ball of smoke. Keeping calm as much as possible and praying,” Punnett said Friday.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises said in a press release they were sending two ships to assist the evacuation effort.

‘Scared out of their wits’

Gonsalves said two more ships from cruise liner company Carnival were also on their way.

Those evacuated would be taken to shelters elsewhere in the island chain or other Caribbean territories that have offered assistance, such as Barbados and Saint Lucia, according to local media.

Philmore Mullin, director of Antigua and Barbuda’s National Office of Disaster Services, told AFP the twin island nation was ready to receive evacuees from Saint Vincent.

He said between 12,000 and 15,000 people had already moved out of the red zones.

“I know for sure they will be scared out of their wits. The question is, what will happen after they move? Volcanoes don’t tell you what they are thinking,” said Mullin.

“If it continues to erupt for a long time it will be life-changing for them. And, depending on the type of eruption, they might not be able to get back home for years.”

The Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) said in a statement quoted by local media that all officers had been told to report for duty immediately.

“All members of the (RSVGPF) and its auxiliary forces who are currently on vacation leave are hereby informed that all leave has been canceled with immediate effect,” the release said.

Sirens sounded out on one side of the island of as traffic became gridlocked on the other in the rush to escape, local news portal Searchlight reported.



© 2021 AFP

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Thousands flee as volcano erupts on Caribbean island of St Vincent (2021, April 9)
retrieved 9 April 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-thousands-volcano-erupts-caribbean-island.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Thousands of seals found dead in Namibia thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Thousands of seals found dead in Namibia

Hexbyte Glen Cove

An estimated 7,000 Cape fur seals have been discovered dead at a breeding colony in central Namibia, scientists said on Saturday.

Conservationist Naude Dreyer of the charity Ocean Conservation Namibia began noticing dead seals littering the sandy beaches of the Pelican Point colony near Walvis Bay city in September.

Then in the first two weeks of October he found large numbers of seal foetuses at the colony, Dr. Tess Gridley from the Namibian Dolphin Project told AFP by phone.

Fur seals normally give birth between mid-November and mid-December.

Gridley estimated that between 5,000 and 7,000 female seals had miscarried young with more still being found.

The cause of the mass die off is yet to be established but scientists suspect anything from pollutants or to malnutrition.

Some of the dead females found were “thin-looking, emaciated, with very little fat reserves”, said Gridley.

Scientists are collecting samples for testing.

In 1994 some 10,000 seals died and 15,000 foetuses were aborted in a mass die off that was linked to starvation suspected to have resulted from a shortage of fish as well as from a bacterial infection at another breeding , the Cape Cross, some 116 kilometres (72 miles) north of the central tourist town Swakopmund.

Annely Haiphene, in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine resources, told AFP she suspected the seals died from “lack of food” but will wait the outcome of the tests.



© 2020 AFP

Citation:
Thousands of seals found dead in Namibia (2020, October 24)
retrieved 26 October 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-thousands-dead-namibia.html

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