Experts, Academics, Scientists and Disaster Management Specialists from around the world, convened at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus on March 29, for a conference dubbed “Explosions, Ash and Lahars”.
The two- day forum is being organised by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, The UWI Seismic Research Centre, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre of the University of the West Indies.
Delivering the feature address, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves reflected on the impact of the 2021 eruption of La Soufriere and pointed to the strength of the Vincentian people.
“We are a nation forged in the cauldron of struggle, beaten on the anvil of experience, we have gone through the fever of history which has molded us into who we are, a very resilient people,” and “… At every turn we were confident that there would be restoration,” Dr. Gonsalves stressed.
Volcanologist, Professor Richard Robertson said a lot is known about and researched on La Soufriere by overseas scientists, and the forum is an opportunity for those findings to be shared with the Vincentian population and other countries in the Caribbean.
“It gives you an impression certainly of what this volcano has done in 2020- 2021…it tells you unfortunately what could happen in your territories and it tells you to a certain extent what we have to deal with …. we live in a beautiful region but we have exploding mountains and we have to bear that in mind,” Professor Robertson said.
The conference will address the physical, scientific and social impact of the eruption and formulate measures to keep the population informed while living with an active volcano.