The U.S. government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing $3.8 million in additional humanitarian assistance for people affected by the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano on the island of Saint Vincent.
“This additional support will provide thousands of people in Saint Vincent with emergency food assistance, access to safe drinking water, hygiene supplies, sanitary latrines, essential household items, and hygiene promotion activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases in shelters and communities,” USAID said in a statement. “The funds will also provide essential medical supplies and support for health facilities, as well as support for logistics to move, store, and distribute emergency items where they are needed.”
La Soufrière erupted repeatedly in April, forcing large-scale evacuations, covering Saint Vincent with ash, polluting air and water sources, and damaging infrastructure and agricultural resources. More than 23,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes and some may be unable to return for months.
In May, heavy rains caused flooding across the island and triggered rain-induced volcanic mudflows—lahars—in areas around the volcano.
This support is part of ongoing USAID efforts with local authorities to help people affected by La Soufrière’s eruption. Thanks to past technical support for volcano monitoring through the USAID-U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, local authorities were able to provide early warning and mobilize evacuations before the eruption.
USAID disaster experts remain on the ground in Saint Vincent and the region, working in coordination with local and regional disaster responders to assess humanitarian needs.