IsraAID Responds to Volcanic Eruptions in St Vincent
Volcanic activity on Caribbean island puts thousands at risk
22 April 2021. For immediate release:
Israeli non-governmental humanitarian aid agency IsraAID will deploy an Emergency Response Team to St Vincent & the Grenadines due to ongoing volcanic activity at the La Soufrière volcano. More than 12,000 people are currently displaced, with more than 8,000 exposed to very high hazard levels in the area near to the volcano. IsraAID’s response will be staffed by international humanitarian specialists, including team members from nearby Dominica, where the organization has worked since Hurricane Maria in 2017, and the Bahamas, where IsraAID partners with communities affected by 2019’s Hurricane Dorian.
IsraAID’s immediate disaster relief work in St Vincent will focus on access to safe water, distributions of hygiene supplies and other relief items, public health interventions, and Psychological First Aid. More than half of the shelters established for displaced persons are estimated to have insufficient water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. Dangerous air quality caused by high levels of ash from the volcano could lead to further public health issues, exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
IsraAID has worked extensively in the Caribbean region in recent years, responding to emergencies and supporting long-term recovery and resilience in one of the world’s most disaster-vulnerable areas. In addition to IsraAID’s missions in Dominica and the Bahamas, the organization supported communities affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico until 2020. Across the region, IsraAID’s programs partner with communities to promote long-term sustainability, including access to safe water and education. In March 2021, IsraAID partnered with regional and international organizations including CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency), the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNICEF, UNESCO, and GADRRES (Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction in Education Systems) on the Caribbean Safe Schools Initiative Pre-Ministerial Forum.
Michal Bar, IsraAID’s Head of Emergency Response Programming, said:
“The ongoing volcanic activity in St Vincent puts thousands of people’s lives and homes at risk. IsraAID’s team will utilize our longstanding experience in the region to partner with affected communities to provide urgent support now and work towards a resilient future.”
Further updates and images from St Vincent to follow.
IsraAID is a leading international humanitarian non-governmental organization, based in Israel. Since 2001, IsraAID has become synonymous with a rapid response to humanitarian crises. Its medical teams, post-trauma experts, community specialists and other professionals have led international responses to disasters and civil strife around the world. After the initial emergency period, IsraAID shifts to long-term programs, accompanying communities and governments as they strive to build a better tomorrow. As of April 2021, IsraAID has responded to crises in 55 countries.