La Soufriere volcano, located in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VCT), has been active since 29 December 2020. The volcanic activity started with effusive eruption, formation of a volcanic dome, as well as changes to crater lake and seismic events. The activity rapidly increased on 8 April 2021 at 3:00 am, local time. The volcano has now entered the explosive eruptive phase that may last over weeks or months, with continued explosions that are expected to be of similar of larger magnitude.
It is estimated that about 20,000 persons will have to be relocated. This represents approximately 18% of the 110,589 (2019) island population. Significant disruption and restriction of access to health services is anticipated due to the impact of the eruption of transportation as well as expected damage to health facilities. Current urgent health needs and gaps revolve around ensuring safe and adequate sheltering for the evacuated persons and strengthening the health system surge capacity to ensure continued access to essential and emergency care for vulnerable individuals and potential victims in the aftermath of the eruption while maintaining capacity to detect and treat COVID-19 patients.
This initial donor alert outlines the financial requirements for the next 3 months to carry out urgent priority actions to support response efforts to the volcanic eruption emergency in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. US$ 1.7M is needed to help maintain and scale-up care delivery capacity of essential health services island wide, strengthen the prevention, timely detection and control of infections and support comprehensive needs assessments, coordination and operational logistics to facilitate an agile and evidence-based response.