MapAction is providing mapping and information management support to the La Soufriere volcano emergency on the island of St Vincent, in response to requests from both CDEMA (Caribbean Disasters & Emergency Management Agency) and UN OCHA’s regional office.
Explosive eruptions from La Soufriere since April 9th have caused ash clouds to cover much of St Vincent, Bequia and southern St Lucia, as well much of Barbados. Pyroclastic flows have descended from the mountain top, after it was confirmed that the volcanic dome had collapsed.
Monitoring of the volcano is difficult as existing seismic stations were knocked out and it became dangerous to travel into the area. By the 7 of April, circa 16000 residents had been advised to evacuate following early signs of activity. The incident has already caused serious need for shelter, PPE and fresh water and is developing. Flooding is now reportedly compounding the situation.
MapAction, an international emergency mapping and geospatial support organisation whose HQ is in Chinnor, Oxfordshire, is currently supporting the situation remotely, having already assembled a dedicated team of 3 volunteers and one staff member, located in Montserrat, the Turks & Caicos Islands (both in the Caribbean), New Zealand and the UK respectively. All members of the MapAction team will be working remotely due to the travel and other complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are no current plans to send a geospatial team to the affected area, although two of the team are based in the Caribbean region.
The direct mission costs are being met by the German Federal Foreign Office. MapAction’s response capacity has been supported by UK FCDO, and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and MapAction has been working extensively in the region on disaster preparedness work thanks to USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs.
Many of MapAction’s maps and other information products relating to this emergency will be available here as the emergency develops.