Today, Friday April 13, 2018 marks 39 years since the last eruption of the La Soufriere volcano here on mainland St. Vincent.

On April 13, 1979, a “black Friday”, the volcano erupted, displacing thousands of persons. There were no reports of deaths.

The La Soufriere volcano, located in the north of the island, previously erupted in 1718, 1812, 1902, and 1979.

Last Thursday April 5, 2018, a project proposed by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre and endorsed by the Government, entitled “Volcano-Ready Communities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” was launched at the Sandy Bay Government School.

The primary objective of this project is to increase awareness and enhance community response to volcanic hazards in twelve communities earmarked as high risk zones.

The communities comprise Fancy, Owia, Sandy Bay, Overland, Big Level, South Rivers, Park Hill, Colonarie, Fitz Hughes, Chateaubelair, Rose Hall, and Spring Village.

Professor Richard Robertson, Director at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre speaking at the launching ceremony, said he was very glad that they got the funding to start the Volcano-Ready Communities project, which he said is a first in the region.

He reminded the audience that it was necessary for them to understand and have the capacity to respond in the event of La Soufriere eruption.

The project is spearheaded by the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund in conjunction with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and is being funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, the Caribbean Development Bank and the European Union at a cost of US $618,700.

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