Thanks you Trinidad and Tobago, for your support and generosity in our time of great need. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is eternally grateful. Thank you my brother @DrKeithRowley pic.twitter.com/EFVf2SgQmp— Ralph Gonsalves (@ComradeRalph) April 13, 2021
They committed to continue providing extensive support to St Vincent and the Grenadines and pledged solidarity with that Member State as it strives to cope with the disaster. The volcano erupted on Friday 9 April and has been spewing ash and emitting pyroclastic flows.
The Meeting was presided over by the Chair of the Conference of Heads of Government Dr Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines briefed his colleague Leaders on the situation at the meeting which was held virtually. The meeting also received information from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) which is co-ordinating the regional response to the event.
Heads of Government were informed that the situation would be prolonged given the level of uncertainty in respect of the behaviour of the volcano.
Prime Minister Gonsalves reported that more than 10,000 people had been evacuated from the immediate disaster area covering approximately one third of the island. They are being housed in shelters and at homes of family and friends. Accommodation for evacuees is also being arranged by neighbouring States.
The ash and the pyroclastic flows have decimated crops and vegetation and compromised water sources. Food and water were identified as among the primary needs.
Member States indicated the level of support that had already been delivered and committed to providing further financial, technical and material support, in particular food and water. Security assistance is also being provided.
Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley alerted the meeting to the effects of the unprecedented heavy ashfall across that island which has resulted in major disruptions to the infrastructure including the closure of the Grantley Adams International Airport with an adverse effect on the tourism sector and the wider economy. Heads of Government pledged their support and solidarity with Barbados in treating with this significant challenge.
Prime Minister Gonsalves thanked his colleague Heads of Government and the Regional Institutions for their overwhelming support. He praised the work of the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (SRC) which has been monitoring the volcano and expressed his deep appreciation for the efforts of CDEMA, the Regional Security System (RSS), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) in assisting the country.
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