The Republic of Malta Joins PAHO in solidarity to Assist St. Vincent and the Grenadines over health hazards derived from Volcano La Soufrière

Eruption volcano Soufriere

Washington, D.C., May 10, 2021 — The Republic of Malta has donated €25,000 (approximately US$ 30,000) to support the emergency response of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines following the most recent eruption of the La Soufrière volcano.

“Our solidarity is with the people and government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in these challenging times. PAHO has deployed five public health experts to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and we are responding to the emergency in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the support of partners,” said the PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. “This donation by the Republic of Malta will surely strengthen our actions to protect people from major health hazards.”

Since the onset of the explosive eruption, PAHO has been supporting St. Vincent and Grenadines national authorities’ response with the shipment of various personal protective equipment and medical and sanitation supplies, including COVID-19 test kits and deployment of personnel to support damage and needs assessment and the coordination of health response operations. The organization has also made recommendations that people can follow to mitigate health risk from ashfall.

In the past two weeks, La Soufriere volcano has registered important seismic activity, with intensifying explosions in the last days. Continuous ash fall has been reported in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other neighbouring islands, including Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada, which are at least 120 miles apart. More recently, COVID-19 cases are reportedly increasing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines among internally displaced people due to the volcano eruption.

This rising crisis has led to the evacuation of an estimated 25,592 people from the northern part of the main island, and over 4,439 of them staying in one of the 86 public shelters activated by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

The contribution from the Republic of Malta will help support clean-up operations in health facilities, implement infection prevention and control measures in shelters to limit the spread of COVID-19, disseminate key information about protective measures and healthy habits among the affected communities and facilitate the coordination of health emergency response operations.

Learn more about PAHO’s response in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.