BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — The Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) yesterday joined with the regional and international community in expressing its best wishes to the people and government of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the aftermath of eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano.
In a statement, the CPDC said it “stands ready to help our member organization, Windward Islands Farmers Association, and our grantee Richmond Vale Academy of St Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as our other trusted partners as they battle with the effects” of the natural disaster.
It also pledged to work closely with NGOs and governments to help impacted communities, with Officer in Charge of CPDC Richard Jones noting the group is “liaising with regional and international partners to provide critical in-country support to assist in the disaster relief efforts on the island”.
“We also urge persons to stay safe and heed precautionary warnings to remain indoors to avoid the ashfall impacts, or evacuate from danger zones as directed,” the CPDC statement read.
“The continued volcanic eruptions have been compounded by the challenges related to COVID-19, but remaining indoors or going to available shelters can assist in protecting the community.
“In times of emergencies, the CPDC remains cognizant of the social and health implications of natural disasters. CPDC acknowledges the importance of safeguarding the civil rights and freedoms of persons during this disaster, as such individual liberties are the cornerstone of our democratic societies.”
The 4,049-foot La Soufriere volcano first erupted on Friday, just hours after government officials ordered an evacuation of thousands of people from the surrounding communities.
On Monday, it experienced an even larger eruption, with ash being carried as far as Barbados.
The CPDC encouraged governments and policymakers to do “their utmost best to protect those most vulnerable in society”, including the elderly, people with disabilities, children and women, especially during this time.
Locally, Bahamian Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has said Cabinet will discuss providing financial support to the country, as he noted many countries came to the aid of The Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.
CaribPR Wire also reported shortly after the eruption that Invest Caribbean, a New York and South Florida-based global private sector investment agency of the Caribbean, and its partner, the Ritzury Group, have come together to create a GoFundMe page to raise disaster relief funds.
Up to press time yesterday, the donation drive had raised over USD$27,000 of its USD$100,000 goal.
The CPDC said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the island. We are one, and we will continue to fight, recover and rebuild stronger from this disaster.”