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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)

World Bank lends US$20-M support to St Vincent and the Grenadines’ volcano response

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)

In the aftermath of La Soufriere volcano eruption in St Vincent, which began last Thursday, April 8, the World Bank has moved to support the Government of the St Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the crisis.

On Monday the bank announced a disbursement of US$20 million to aid in response efforts.

“Our hearts are with the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines during this crisis,” Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country director for the Caribbean stated in a release. 

World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean Tahseen Sayed (File photo)

“We are committed to supporting the response efforts at this critical time when the country faces this new disaster while already managing the social and economic effects of the pandemic,” she continued.

The explosive eruption has necessitated the evacuation of 20,000 people from the high-risk zones around the volcano, both to other parts of Saint Vincent and surrounding island territories. Since the first eruption, explosions have continued, and the falling ash is causing air quality concerns and interruptions in electricity and water supply.

The World Bank disbursed the funds from a contingent credit line from the World Bank, known as the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option, approved in June 2020, which aims to provide immediate liquidity to support a country’s efforts to recover from natural disasters or a public health emergency.

Signage for the World Bank in Washington, DC, USA. (Photo: WIC News)

In recent years, the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has been making efforts to strengthen its preparedness and capacity to respond to disasters.