(CMC) — The United Nations says it will launch a US$29.2 million global funding appeal later on Tuesday to help people affected by the eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines and other impacted countries.
“The eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano are expected to displace close to 20,000 persons with over 12,700 evacuees now registered in public shelters and in private homes,” the UN said in a statement.
“Entire villages have been covered in ashes, buildings damaged, schools and businesses closed, crops and livestock destroyed, and residents left with limited access to clean drinking water. Further eruptions are expected in the coming weeks.”
The UN said funding raised will provide immediate lifesaving humanitarian aid including cash assistance and clean water, and support a sustainable recovery, including through repairs to homes and support for livelihoods.
The UN said it and its partners will also assess the economic, social and environmental impact on countries affected by the volcano, supporting with ash removal and improving environmental health conditions.
It said another priority is to continue preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The UN said the appeal will be launched by the UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq, alongside St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Regis Chapman, Head of Caribbean Sub-regional Office for the World Food Program (WFP) and Aloys Kamuragiye, Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Barbados and Eastern Caribbean.
The appeal will be supported by other UN agencies participating by distance – UN Women, UNFPA, PAHO, IOM, UNESCO, UNDP, FAO, UNOPS, UNEP and OCHR.
The UN said the Director General of the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Dr Didacus Jules, as well as Executive Director of Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Elizabeth Riley, will also join the launch in support of the appeal.
“This crisis comes at the most difficult time, as the world is grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and ahead of the hurricane season”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement issued by his spokesperson on Monday.
“The Secretary-General commends the local response efforts underway and reiterates the full support of the United Nations,” said Stéphane Dujarric.
Dujarric said that the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will announce on Tuesday the release of one million US dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to assist the response.
Last weekend, Trebucq, along with the representatives from UNICEF, WFP and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) took a 10-hour boat ride to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to assess the situation for response and recovery efforts.
Trebucq said that abandoned villages are “covered by heavy ashes…and paved roads have been turned into tracks”
““Clean up, ecological and human assets recovery will require a massive effort”, he said.