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St Vincent and the Grenadines: Volcanoes

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 182040, tabled on 16 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano, what steps he is planning to take to support the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Answered on

21 April 2021

We are monitoring the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines closely and our thoughts are with those affected by the eruptions.

On 12 April the UK pledged an initial £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to help address the humanitarian impact of the eruptions. This will provide urgent technical expertise to help coordinate the relief effort, including the provision of lifesaving emergency supplies, the restoration of telecommunications and transport links and other immediate needs including around the provision of water and electricity and in the health and agriculture sectors. We have provided technical advice from the UK Government Office of Science (GO Science) and the British Geological Survey on how to deal with the significant ash fall (including on its impact on livestock).

We currently have a volcanologist on the ground supporting the relief effort. They are working to facilitate the urgent analysis of ash samples back in the UK. This analysis will enable scientists in St Vincent to better understand how the eruptions are changing and determine seismic patterns of activity over the coming months

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) have allocated $1million in response to the eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The UK is a longstanding supporter of the CERF. In 2020, the UK was one of the largest donors to the Fund, providing £66 million ($88.6million) to support responses to humanitarian need across the globe.

Finally the UK is also a contributor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has allocated funding of some £209,000 to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross response. We will continue to work with CDEMA and other appropriate agencies to assess the need for further UK support.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, spoke to the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and his High Commissioner to the UK on 14 April. They discussed initial and ongoing UK support for the recovery following the volcanic eruption.

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