UN Warns of Humanitarian Crisis on the Island St. Vincent Amid Eruptions

A United Nations (UN) official warned on April 14 of a growing humanitarian crisis in the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent as ongoing volcanic eruptions have displaced around 20,000 people.

Didier Trebucq, UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Caribbean, told reporters at a video briefing that 20,000 people, who evacuated due to a volcanic eruption last April 9, are “estimated at risk of food insecurity, given the loss of the assets in terms of livelihood like fisheries, or agriculture,” based on preliminary estimations.

Trebucq also said that around 6,000 of the evacuees are considered to be most vulnerable.

“We are facing a situation with a great deal of uncertainty, and also a humanitarian crisis that is growing and may continue for weeks and months,” Trebucq said.

According to officials, around 4,000 evacuees are living in 87 government shelters while others are at the homes of families and friends or have fled to neighboring countries using fishing boats.

Trebucq said that water is “priority number one” as many facilities lack basic services, including drinking water, and that water services in many areas of the island shut down.

The island’s Central Water and Sewerage Authority General Manager Garth Saunders said that the water situation is improving as more water systems are returning.

Neighboring Caribbean countries are also transporting supplies in aid.

Trebucq said that the UN will soon launch an emergency appeal to support the humanitarian response and for the early recovery of the island.

“This is a crisis that is going to last certainly more than six months in the sub-region, in Saint Vincent, and other islands,” Trebucq said.

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