Airports in the Caribbean countries of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados remain closed after La Soufrière, a volcano on Saint Vincent, roared to life over the weekend for the first time since the late 1970s, blanketing the island’s lush landscape in a layer of ash and blocking out the sun.
Argyle International Airport on Saint Vincent, as well as Canouan Airport, which serves other islands in the Grenadines, remain closed, hindering relief efforts including the delivery of fresh water, which is in desperately short supply due to interrupted flow and the contamination of reservoirs.
Power on Saint Vincent was also interrupted as a result of the eruptions on the northern side of the island, which could go on for weeks according to scientists, who believe the 4,084-foot volcano is following the same pattern it did during its 1902 eruption that caused massive damage to the island and claimed the lives of 1,600 people.
While no deaths were reported from the latest eruptions and the resulting pyroclastic flow of superheated gases, lava rock, and ash, thousands of residents were evacuated from neighborhoods inundated with ash from plumes that rose more than 40,000 feet.
Prevailing winds carried the dense ash clouds 120 miles east, covering Barbados’s capital of Bridgetown and its Grantley Adams International Airport, which will be closed at least until Friday.