Update: We have received an updated report from one of our St. Vincent pastors on the status of our three churches in the evacuation zone: Fancy, Dickson, and Gorse Estate. As the volcano continues to erupt intermittently, the road to Fancy has been wiped out and the two nearest villages destroyed. However, the Fancy congregation and church remain unharmed. We thank God for His great mercy. All of the saints at Dickson are now in shelters, and many from Gorse Estate, which is at the edge of the evacuation zone, have followed.
A layer of ash covers the entire island, effecting water supplies and slowing the reopening of the airport. The pastor writes, “Thank you for your continued prayers. We serve a great God who is always faithful. We thank Him that all of the saints are accounted for and there has been no loss of church property.”
The Soufriere volcano on the island of St. Vincent began erupting on April 9, sending lava down the sides of the volcano and clouds of ash across the island. A thick coating of ash covered St. Vincent as well as the Grenadines directly to the north, and Barbados, which is one hundred miles to the east.
Sixteen thousand people had been evacuated in the days before, and no deaths have been attributed to the eruption. Our District Superintendent of St. Vincent, Christopher King, has confirmed that everyone from our nine congregations on the island is physically safe.
The greatest need now is for fresh water, as ash has contaminated most cisterns. In some areas, several inches of ash have fallen. The local government has advised that residents disconnect their cisterns to avoid further contamination, and also boil water before using it. Due to the reduced air quality, those with respiratory ailments have been advised to stay indoors as much as possible.
As of Wednesday, April 14, about twenty thousand people had been evacuated from the northern part of St. Vincent where the volcano is located. Two of our churches are in the evacuation zone. The island itself is only eighteen miles in length, so all of our St. Vincent churches are relatively close in proximity.
Eruptions are expected to continue for several more days. May we keep the saints living in this region in our prayers for their safety and provision.