On Friday 9th April, the La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent, which hadn’t erupted since 1979, exploded violently and has displaced over 20,000 people on the island, with inhabitants being strongly urged to evacuate. Homes have been covered in a thick layer of ash, from an ash cloud that billowed six kilometres into the air, destroying personal belongings and wiping out homes.
The Royal Naval Association (RNA) answered a call to action last week from a team of serving and ex-serving Royal Navy volunteers with personal connections to Saint Vincent, led by Petty Officer Aaron Dickson, who are coordinating a huge collection of desperately needed supplies.
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines are a member of the Commonwealth, and currently have over 500 Vincentians serving in the Royal Navy. There is also a huge community of Royal Navy Vincentian veteran and families settled both here in the UK and returned to the Caribbean.
Over the weekend, the Portsmouth based minibus has made over 50 collections from Chichester, Portsmouth, Fareham and the surrounding villages, filling the bus to the brim 4 times. After an article in the Portsmouth News and coverage on local television, offers of donations continue to pour in. We’d like to thank everyone for such an outpouring of support and ask you to bear with us as we continue to respond to everyone.
On Wednesday, the first container will sail from Southampton to the islands, with a planned arrival at the beginning of May. A second container is being scheduled for the 5th May, with the support of the St Vincent and the Grenadines UK High Commission.
For branches and communities outside of Area 3, please hold fire on taking in any donations locally for the time being. With a warehouse full at present, items are currently being sorted and a list of priority items will be given to us for the second container in due course. We are currently planning the logistics for a national collection if it’s deemed necessary by the St Vincent and the Grenadines UK High Commission and the Saint Vincent volunteer network.