Residents of St Vincent’s ‘orange zone’ can return home



The plume of the Soufrière eruption visible above the mountain. – Stephon Nicholas

While he said it would be premature to say that the Soufriere volcano “fell back asleep”, seismologist and vulcanologist Roderick Stewart said residents of the “orange zone” could start returning home.

He said that the activity of the volcano was “calming down”.

It’s been almost a month since the St Vincent volcano erupted. It left many areas covered with ash and others affected by lahars (mudslides).

Residents of the northern part of the island (the red zone) were evacuated and stayed with friends and family, hotels or one of more than 80 designated shelters.

Many people living in the orange zone had also evacuated as a precaution. The orange zone includes the villages of Chateaubelair and Georgetown.

Speaking at a virtual press conference on Monday morning, Stewart said there were only very small lahars over the weekend, which caused no further destruction.

The country’s Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the Cabinet will take a decision on Wednesday regarding the return of Orange Zone residents.

But when he asked Stewart, he replied, “Yes, the residents of the Orange Zone can reoccupy.”

But Gonsalves warned it had to be done in an orderly fashion and that the government had to end ongoing cleanup efforts there.

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