Alert Level Lowered At La Soufriere Volcano, Residents Now Able To Return To Their Homes

(CMC) — The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has lowered the volcanic alert level from Orange to Yellow, nearly five months after the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.

The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) in a statement said that the decision to lower the level was taken following the advice of scientists from the Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

It said that activities at La Soufriere have declined for the last three months and are consistent with a period of unrest following eruptive magmatic activity (explosive eruption) which can be seen by the emission of hot, degassing, near-surface magma at the summit of the volcano.

NEMO said a Yellow alert means that the volcano is still restless: seismic or fumarolic activity or both are above the historical level at the volcano but have reduced significantly since the last eruption on April 22.

It said that the lowering of the volcano alert level to Yellow means that all residents who previously evacuated can now return to their homes.

NEMO said that all persons in emergency shelters should return to their homes by September 20, once it is habitable.

But it warned that access to the volcano remains off-limit as hot gases are still being emitted from the volcano and hot rocks are possible at the surface.

The landscape leading to the summit has changed significantly since the eruptions making it extremely difficult to maintain one’s footing which may result in injuries, NEMO said.

“Lahars (floodwaters mixed with ash, other volcanic materials, mud, debris, and rocks) and heavy steaming/degassing will continue for some time during periods of heavy rainfall. Residents and motorists in areas close to the volcano and persons traversing rivers and streams during periods of heavy rainfall should always remain vigilant.”