Cricklewood church appeal following St Vincent volcano eruption
Nathalie Raffray & Lilian Fawcett
- Credit: James Yeates
A Cricklewood church is appealing for food donations following a volcanic eruption in the Caribbean.
St Gabriel's Church, in Walm Lane, is sending aid to St Vincent and the Grenadines where La Soufrière volcano erupted on April 9.
Around 16,000 people have evacuated and been displaced as the volcano continues to stir.
Falling ash and lava flows have destroyed crops and contaminated water supplies, and the island’s prime minister Ralph Gonsalves has estimated the country will need hundreds of millions of dollars to recover.
The UK government has committed £200,000 through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
Rev James Yeates, vicar of St Gabriel's, said: "We have been moved by the effects of the recent volcanic eruption in St Vincent and the Grenadines particularly as there are strong connections within our church community and that part of the world.
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"The recent eruption has displaced many people including families and children, many of whom are not being supported by the formal relief efforts and are in danger of falling beneath the cracks."
He added: "There are many church members who are from Caribbean origin who feel compassionately about the cause which has enabled it to gain traction quickly."
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The church is making regular shipments and is asking for items including canned goods and jars such as beans, fish and pasta sauces, dried goods such as rice and dried milk powder.
They also need toiletries such as nappies and sanitary towels, toilet paper and hand sanitiser small games, colouring equipment and books for children.
Michal Camejo, junior research fellow at UWI’s Seismic Research Centre, told this paper that recent rainfall has caused mudflows and flooding, which could continue to be a problem even after the volcanic activity subsides and delay residents’ return to their homes.
“When things calm down, you have to rebuild critical facilities to send people back to school.
"It’s going to be significant, the kinds of the infrastructure that they have to put in to get things back to some level of normal,” she said.
Monique Johnson, a geologist at the University of the West Indies (UWI) who has worked with local communities to prepare them for a volcanic eruption, said many people are dealing with “a lot of trauma”.
“These communities are exposed to a multi-hazard environment,” Monique said. “When they’re building back, they need to build back with that in mind.”