Vincentians living in the Red Zone in addition to other parts of the island have been advised to keep some water handy as volcanic ash from any explosive eruption of La Soufriere could negatively affect the water supply.
This possible scenario was highlighted during a virtual community meeting last night for Georgetown called ‘Eyeing La Soufriere.’
Geologist with the UWI Seismic Research Unit, professor Richard Robertson said one of the potentials of an explosive eruption is for ash to get into everything. He notes most water catchments in St Vincent are open and there are effects that ash could have on the water supply.
Meanwhile, Director of NEMO Michelle Forbes noted that in the emergency grab and go bag which persons living in the Red Zone should have in case of evacuation, they should have water in addition to a supply of food.
Residents living in the Green Zone should also make preparations similar to persons living in the Red Zone and be prepared to welcome residents from those areas which may be evacuated.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves during the meeting also explained that there is an unevenness with respect to the amenities at emergency shelters/schools. He said the new schools have bathroom facilities, more showers and water tanks.
This is why persons should carry water as there is the possibility that volcanic ash could affect the water supply. Gonsalves said this was one of the problems experienced in 1979 in Bequia, where the water tanks had a lot of ash in them.
The island’s water authority (CWSA) would have to move water if this occurs but there is the additional problem that water could be cut off to some shelters. It was noted that St Vincent’s water catchments are interconnected.
The prime minister said moving into a shelter will not be as conformable as living in one’s home, which is why the ideal situation is for as many people to stay with friends and family to ease the public pressure should an evacuation take place.