PARAMARIBO – The U.S. government has mobilized a multi-tier, interagency approach to bring much needed relief to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently announced an increase of $100,000 USD in disaster relief for people affected by violent eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano. Partnering with the St. Vincent Red Cross, USAID will fund the distribution of emergency food and relief supplies including hygiene kits, fuel, mattresses, and portable stoves. This announcement follows the $40,000 USD in USAID assistance that fueled vehicles to evacuate Vincentians living in the Red Zones and helped the St. Vincent Red Cross stand up their emergency evacuation centers immediately after the increased seismic activity. The U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is funding $60,000 USD in humanitarian assistance projects, which will deliver personal protective equipment and shelter supplies to St. Vincent. Multiple citizen organizations in the United States, including those of the St. Vincent diaspora, have also reached out to help.
The USAID–USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) continues to support the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre to monitor the volcano’s activity. These teams have been collaborating closely since December 2020, when there was an initial rise in La Soufrière’s activity. In February, VDAP contributed $100,000 USD in equipment to build three seismic stations and purchase radios to enhance communications in St. Vincent.
Within the last year, part of $1.8 million USD in USAID regional assistance has supported the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology’s use of drones and satellite imagery to provide climate data and relay information to disaster management authorities. $200,000 USD specifically funded the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) work with the St. Vincent National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) and upgrades to its emergency operation centers.