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Ash and smoke billow as the La Soufriere volcano erupts in Kingstown on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent. (Photo: Robertson S Henry/Reuters)

Caricom private sector groups pledge support to St Vincent and the Grenadines

Ash and smoke billow as the La Soufriere volcano erupts in Kingstown on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent. (Photo: Robertson S Henry/Reuters)

The Caricom Private Sector Organization (CPSO) and Caribbean Manufacturers’ Associated (CMA) have joined forces to support St Vincent and the Grenadines in light of the eruption of La Soufriere volcano on Thursday, April 8.

“We are heartbroken by the devastation already being experienced and extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers as the situation unfolds,” a joint press release from both organisations read, following a meeting on Saturday.

The meeting, according to the release, aimed at collaborating on and arriving at a coordinated response to the impact of the volcanic eruption on the affected island of St Vincent.

Prior to the meeting, private sector groups from various Caricom member states had arranged for the shipments of contributions in kind for the residents of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Our efforts will continue, as we are cognisant that it will require effort to assist St Vincent and the Grenadines to recover,” the statement outlined.

Caricom Private Sector Organization Chairman Mr Gervase Warner (right) and head of the CPSO Secretariat Dr Patrick Antoine (Photo: Caricom)

As part of their response, CPSO and CMA will develop a “Master List” to monitor how both organisations and Caricom member states have responded and to better coordinate relief efforts.

In addition, both groups will collaborate with the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) on exchanging information that will contribute to responding more efficiently to the needs of residents, as they arise.

“Our efforts will continue, as we are cognisant that it will require effort to assist St Vincent and the Grenadines to recover”

“We also recognise the challenges caused by the relocation of segments of the population, and we intend to be responsive to this through CDEMA,” the release ended.

In the aftermath of the volcanic eruption, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines commissioned vessels to assist with evacuations from the danger zone.

Royal Caribbean International’has commissioned a vessel to assist evacuees in St Vincent (Photo: South Florida Caribbean News)