The St. Vincent and The Grenadines Tourism Authority is appealing to those in the travel industry for help for its destination following the April 9 volcanic eruption that has created a “catastrophic” situation.
Shelley John, the Caribbean destination’s Canadian representative, told Travel Courier that volcanic activity is continuing, compounding earlier problems.
“The volcano continues to erupt explosively and has now begun to generate pyroclastic density currents,” she said. “Explosions and accompanying ashfall of similar or larger magnitude are likely to continue to occur over the next few days. Water shortages and electricity outages continue. About 16,000 persons have had to be evacuated from the Red Zone to the safer Green Zone and are in shelters, personal accommodation and hotels.”
The destination’s National Emergency Management Organization is seeking donations of varied items, such as folding cots, blankets, tents (10x10ft or 20x20ft), sleeping mats, respirator masks with filters, goggles, reflective vests, caution tape, hygiene kits, non-perishable food items, clothing (new) and 5-gallon buckets.
People are also being invited to donate financially, with a GoFundMe having been created.
“We are getting lots of moral support from the industry currently,” John reported. “We would like to thank Canadians for all the support they are offering – morally, via monetary donations and items from our list of needs. The people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are in dire straits right now and appreciate all the help we are receiving.”
John also praised Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for providing help.
John said her destination’s tourism trade “has been at a minimum because of the coronavirus pandemic. Air Canada service was slated to resume in September but the situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is leaving the resumption of service unclear.
Those in the Toronto area wishing to donate needed items can deliver them to three locations:
People can also purchase items on Amazon.ca and send orders directly to the above address to the attention of NEMO SVG.
Additionally, financial contributions can be made via a GoFundMe campaign that has been started by CARI-ON SVG Disaster Preparedness, a non-profit organization based in Toronto.
GlobalMedic, a Canadian charity and disaster response agency, has also organized a local relief effort, sending food and family emergency kits with water purification units and hygiene items to help displaced families in St. Vincent. Click to donate – from the dropdown ‘Fund’ menu, you can select ‘4 – Saint Vincent – Volcanic Eruption.’
For up-to-date information from NEMO, including government bulletins and status updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/nemosvg.
John noted that so far, five 40-foot shipping containers of donated items have been sent from Canada, and another shipment of donations went on a Sunwing flight to St. Lucia last week.
However, items including nebulizers, puffers and respirator masks, such as the N95 masks, are still in high demand as residents continue to deal with a large amount of ash in the air.