April 20, 2021

On Friday, April 9, 2021 the La Soufrière volcano erupted, resulting in devastation and mass evacuations in the Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). The volcano has erupted several times since and is likely to remain active for the next six months – jeopardizing the lives and livelihoods of the people of SVG. While fortunately no lives have been lost, 20,000 of SVG’s total population of 110,000 have been evacuated. Damage is extensive across the main island of St. Vincent. The entire population faces a severe shortage of water. Other critical problems include power outages, lack of shelter, poor air quality, and property and infrastructure damage. COVID-19 has greatly complicated the situation, and there are fears that it will spread rapidly amongst the vulnerable population.

SVG is a neighboring nation and a partner of the UCF’s Small Countries Program. The Small Countries Program, which is part of UCF Global Perspectives and International Initiatives, works with small nations to examine the unique challenges – including climate change, sustainable development, and natural disaster response – faced by small nations, particularly those in the Caribbean. UCF Global’s Caribbean work is also led by the Puerto Rico Research Hub, which was created in response to Hurricane Maria.

UCF Global urges the UCF community and our partners in Central Florida to help the people of SVG with monetary donations – of any amount – to the Saint Vincent and Grenadines Red Cross (SVGRC). The Red Cross is working with the SVG government, the United Nations, and other agencies to provide critically needed food, water, shelter, and health care.

To donate, please contact the Stronger Together Campaign – the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States Commission: https://spurropen.com/prm.php?vu=event&eid=16054

The OESC Commission campaign is part of a larger effort which includes the United Nations. All funds will go to SVG, including the many organizations doing essential humanitarian work on the ground. To find out more about the campaign, please go to the website here: https://pressroom.oecs.org/oecs-commission-launches-stronger-together-campaign-to-support-saint-vincent-and-the-grenadines

In times of emergency, the UCF community has stood up to the challenge. That was the case after the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas where displaced individuals were embraced in our Central Florida and UCF community. Now comes the time to help our neighbors in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as they deal with the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano that has been dormant since 1979.

 

Puerto Rico Research Hub Director Dr. Fernando I. Rivera says, “We are open to help and bring awareness to the current emergency our friends in St. Vincent are going through, just like we did after Hurricane Maria, UCF and the Central Florida community remains committed to help our Caribbean neighbors as they navigate these devastating conditions.”

 

 

Media Contacts:

 

For more information, please contact David Dumke, Executive Director of UCF Global Perspectives and International Initiatives. He can be reached via email at David.Dumke@ucf.edu or (407) 823-2440.