Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent as the La Soufriere volcano erupted on Friday (April 9) morning.
"Please leave the red zone immediately. La Soufriere has erupted," St. Vincent's National Emergency Management Organization said. "Ash fall recorded as far as Argyle International Airport."
The agency reported that ash plumes were about five miles high and being blown east.
Videos of La Soufriere erupting were shared on social media.
"The la Soufriere Volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is experiencing an explosive eruption at this moment," Kenville Horne captioned a video he shared on Twitter.
The evacuation orders impact around 16,000 people who live in six different districts on the island, which is the largest in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines chain in the eastern Caribbean.
Cruise lines are offering to help with the evacuation, which has been hampered due to the ash and smoke from the eruption. Carnival is sending two cruise ships, while Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises each sent one ship to the island.
"Each ship will accommodate up to 1,500 residents who will be transported to neighboring islands which have agreed to offer refuge out of harm's way. All precautions will be taken to protect the health and safety of Carnival crew and the passengers who board the ships," a spokesperson for Carnival said.
The volcano has erupted five times, with the latest eruption occurring in 1979.
"La Soufriere Volcano erupted the second Friday in April (Friday April 13)in 1979. Four days shy of it's anniversary it has again erupted on the second Friday in April (9) in 2021," St. Vincent's National Emergency Management Organization wrote on Twitter.
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