It’s hard to think of a more devastating scenario to hit during a pandemic – but a volcanic eruption might just be it.
That’s what the community of St Vincent is facing as the La Soufriere eruption coats the beautiful Caribbean island with volcanic ash – displacing thousands of people.
For local RRT members, it has forced them to quickly mobilize to provide some assistance to those in greatest need.
The eruption on Thursday afternoon has resulted in more than 5,000 residents needing to pack what belongings and precious items they could and get to one of 120 evacuation centers on the island.
RRT has been working with the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) to distribute emergency food supplies through their Food Box initiative and water as these items are in desperate need.
Thousands of evacuees are in need of immediate humanitarian support, and Mark DeCasseres, General Manager for RRT in the Caribbean said “The volcanic ash means the basic items are what is needed most right now. Shelter, food, water and hygiene products.
“In a little over 96 hours RRT has managed to source and distribute 8,400 bottles of water, as well as 238 Food Boxes, which equates to 3,570 number of meals.
“More than 233 Food Boxes were prepared on Saturday afternoon alone, gifting those displaced a total of (3,495).
“We hope this helps during what is a desperate and uncertain time for locals – including our own RRT volunteers.”
RRT Food Boxes contain a variety of non-perishable, long-life food that can feed a family of four for up to 48 hours.
The local St. Vincent team is getting support from neighboring RRT teams from Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica – and even as far afield as the United States.
“As Christians – our values of care and compassion are central – so we are only happy we can lend a helping hand,” Earl Gracey from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church said.