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St. Vincent's La Soufriere volcano ERUPTS as thousands of islanders flee 8km-high ash plume (VIDEOS)

St. Vincent's La Soufriere volcano ERUPTS as thousands of islanders flee 8km-high ash plume (VIDEOS)
The La Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent has erupted after more than 16,000 residents were evacuated by the local government, following increased volcanic activity.

Dramatic footage shared online shows the volcano's enormous ash plumes, which have risen as high as 10 kilometers and travelled around six kilometers east from the island, according to the National Emergency Management Organisation.

Volcanic ash has now begun to descend across the country, which has a population of 110,000, covering communities close to the volcano, as well as cars, the Argyle International Airport, and the observatory of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Center.

The UWI confirmed the eruption took place at 8:41am local time, and has advised residents in the "red volcanic hazard zone" to seek shelter.

The explosive eruption of St. Vincent's only 'live' volcano – its first since 1979 – comes after a lava dome began developing at the site in December 2020. Steam was seen rising from the crater in recent days.

On Thursday, the government raised the volcano's alert level to 'red' and issued evacuation orders after seismologists detected six separate bands of volcanic tremor throughout the day.

Also on rt.com About 16,000 people ordered to evacuate in St. Vincent amid fears La Soufriere volcano will EXPLODE any minute (VIDEO, PHOTO)

Some of those evacuated have been temporarily housed, while others have boarded ships to seek shelter elsewhere on St. Vincent or on neighboring islands.

The UWI has said that the explosive eruption is likely to continue for "days and possibly weeks" and has warned other blasts may occur.

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