Two containers of supplies sent from Puerto Rico have arrived in St. Vincent, where the La Soufrière volcano continues to erupt. The donated supplies from the Church include tents, blankets, flashlights, towels, water, rice and other food, along with wheelchairs and nebulizers, according to an update on the Church’s Jamaica Newsroom on April 26.
Also, Church members and friends on the nearby island of Grenada packed 1,000 hygiene kits that were shipped to the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent with other supplies donated by various organizations. Those kits will be delivered to the National Emergency Management Organization in St. Vincent this week.
The Church has donated money to the local Salvation Army to help distribute water and food, along with cases of water. Church members on the island assembled 350 food hampers for the evacuees.
La Soufrière volcano continues to erupt and explosions spewing ash occur with little to no warning, according to the National Emergency Management Organization.
Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves declared a disaster on April 8, and the volcano erupted on April 9, in the first of several major explosions, the Associated Press reported. Those explosions have sent ash and hot gasses into the air, and pyroclastic flows down the volcano’s south and southwest flanks destroying homes, crops and other vegetation and contaminating the water supply on the island, according to Associated Press reports.
Ash buildup has killed crops and caused buildings to collapse in the areas closest to the volcano, according to news reports. There have been no reports of injuries or deaths.
More than 9,400 of the 16,000 to 20,000 people who evacuated from the near the volcano are in the 80-plus government and private shelters on the island.
Those evacuees include 46 islanders, including Church members, who are taking refuge in a meetinghouse in Kingstown, according to the Jamaica Newsroom.
The meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kingstown opened April 12 as a shelter for those evacuating from the La Soufrière volcano, Jamaica Newsroom reported. On April 16, portable toilets and showers were installed around the Kingstown chapel for the nearly four dozen people sheltering there.
Those at the shelter have daily group prayers, gospel study, exercise and are also gathering three times a week. At one of the recent gatherings, Barbados Bridgetown Mission President Alan L. Fisher played a guitar and sang “I am a Child of God.“ The group also sang other popular gospel songs.
“We had a spiritual and edifying experience together,” said Ronique Forbes, Church director of communication on the island, in the Jamaica Newsroom update.
At another devotional, full-time and returned missionaries from nearby Barbados joined as guests.
There are 716 members of the Church on St. Vincent and three congregations. There are currently no full-time missionaries living in St. Vincent, which is part of the Barbados Bridgetown Mission.