Soufrière Hills in Montserrat, credit Wikipedia
Evacuation efforts could be hampered by the pandemic. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a news conference that people have to be vaccinated if they go aboard a cruise ship or are granted temporary refuge in other nearby islands. He said two Royal Caribbean cruise ships are expected to arrive by Friday and a third one in the coming days, as well as two Carnival cruise ships by Friday. Islands that have said they would accept evacuees include St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua."Not everything is going to go perfect, but if we all co-operate ... we will come through this stronger than ever," Gonsalves said. He said he was talking to other Caribbean governments to accept people's ID cards if they don't have a passport."This is an emergency situation, and everybody understands that," he said. Gonsalves added that he highly recommends those who opt to go to a shelter in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an island chain of more than 100,000 people, be vaccinated. Joseph said emergency management teams have been going out to communities in the red zone and providing transportation to safer locations, including prearranged shelters." They know who doesn't have transportation because all of this has been canvassed before," she said, adding that those who board the cruise ship would not be taken elsewhere but would remain there for an unspecified period of time. Officials said the dome of the volcano located on the island's northern region could be seen glowing by nightfall.
The alert issued Thursday evening follows days of seismic activity around La Soufrière. Gonsalves urged people to remain calm and orderly." I don't want you panicked," he said. "That is the worst thing to do."Scientists alerted the government about a possible eruption after noting a specific type of seismic activity at 3 a.m. local time on Thursday that indicated "magma was on the move close to the surface," Joseph said."Things are escalating pretty quickly," she said of the volcanic activity, adding that it was impossible to provide an exact forecast of what might happen in the next few hours or days.