Video Shows St Vincent Volcano Spewing Ash as Eruption Enters Fifth Day

Thick ash continues to spew from the La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of St Vincent this week as it enters its fifth day of erupting.

The region's National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) confirmed in a tweet that an "explosive eruption" was recorded from the volcano on Friday last week (April 9), and it has continued to show extensive activity in the days since.

More than 10,000 residents are under evacuation orders as of Tuesday and mass power blackouts have impacted the majority of the island.

Footage released on Monday by the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), of Colorado State University, showed satellite video of the large eruption taken the day prior, showing large clouds of ash billowing from the volcano's crater.

Yesterday's full daytime view of La Soufrière erupting.

— CIRA (@CIRA_CSU) April 12, 2021

Thick ashfall has blanketed the island and scientists have warned that pyroclastic flows have now started to occur. While these do not include lava flow, they are a mixture of thick ash, rock and gas produced from an eruption that destroys anything in its path.

The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, which monitors for quakes, volcanoes and tsunamis in the eastern Caribbean, said in its latest update that ashfall and explosions were predicted to "continue to occur over the next few days."

Erouscilla Joseph, director of the research center, told the Associated Press (AP) this week that the existence of pyroclastic flows means all nearby residents must evacuate. "Anything that was there, man, animal, anything... they are gone," she said.

Scientists said a "huge explosion" was recorded at 4:15 a.m. local time on Monday, as residents in the neighbouring island of Barbados were also hit by traveling ash.

The seismic research centre said in one of its latest updates that "extensive damage to vegetation was seen in the area extending from Larikai Bay to Turner Bay on the west coast." Tremors were coinciding with periods of "venting or explosive activity."

NEMO, which is posting updates and images of the volcano to Facebook and Twitter, said on Sunday roads on St. Vincent, which is home to around 110,000 residents, were treacherous and many homes on the island were left without water and electricity.

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Another huge eruption of the #LaSoufriere #volcano this morning. You can see the massive plume of ash and the shock wave emanating from the crater. Incredible! Imagery via #GOES16

— Ed Piotrowski (@EdPiotrowski) April 11, 2021

It warned: "Ash particles can be breathed into lungs. They can cause runny nose, sore throat, hacking cough, wheezing or shortness of breath." It remains unclear if there have been any injuries or deaths relating to the eruption. None have been reported.

Authorities in the region have warned residents to stay away from the volcano and said no-one would be allowed nearby without police permission.

The agency NEMO warned on Facebook: "Anyone caught in the Red Zone without the permission of the police will be immediately arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This will apply whether you are a usual resident of the area or not." It said water was being distributed to shelters and communities until local service is restored.

La Soufriere Volcano
This April 9, 2021, image courtesy Zen Punnett shows the eruption of La Soufriere volcano from Rillan Hill in Saint Vincent. Zen Punnett/AFP/Getty Images