La Soufriere’s eruptions have left large swathes of areas covered in ash.
The first eruption in Saint Vincent on April 9 made evacuation difficult in the face of very poor visibility.
The second eruption tipped the scales even further. This is what the UWI-SRC Observatory in Saint Vincent looked like after the explosion on April 11.
Overnight ashfall left cars and vegetation covered in volcanic ash — tiny jagged particles of rock and natural glass that a volcano blasts into the air.
The wind can carry this ash for thousands of miles. According to the UWI Seismic Research Centre, ash fall is the most far-reaching and pervasive volcanic hazard.
The problem with ash is that it needs to be cleaned up before it starts to clog sewage pipes, and its impact can linger for years to come.
And, the ash from La Soufriere is impacting everything from vehicles to communication systems.
The weight of the ash can cause branches to fall or for trees to collapse.
However, in the long run, volcano ash helps keep soil very fertile. It contains dozens of minerals like magnesium, calcium, sodium, sulfur and others, which are important for plant growth.
Weak buildings may not be able to bear the weight.
Even after ash-producing eruptions come to an end, wind and human activity can stir up fallen ash for years to come. Not only is it a long-term health hazard, but an economic hazard as well.
The volcanic eruption of La Soufriere isn’t just a danger to Saint Vincent, but also to its surrounding countries.
UNICEF has announced humanitarian assistance to about 5,000 children affected by the volcano.