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St. Vincent & Grenadines: COVID factored into volcano evacuation plans

Disaster management and health officials are considering the COVID-19 pandemic as they devise evacuation plans, should evacuation become necessary as a result of the ongoing effusive eruption of La Soufriere.

“The Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment has a multi-hazard disaster preparedness plan and during the hurricane season, we had made adjustment to our hurricane response plan to accommodate COVID because in the hurricane response plan we have to cater to persons being in shelters,” Chief Medical Officer, Simone Keizer-Beache told a press conference on Tuesday.

The volcano, on Dec. 28, was found to be in an effusive state of eruption in which magma is oozing from the 4,048-foot-high volcano.

Keizer-Beache noted that while plans were made within the hurricane response plan last year, shelters in the volcano red zone would be unavailable for use by evacuees.

“We have already put in place in terms of what we will do and the measures we will take to protect persons going into shelters during this COVID time,” the CMO said.

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